Harbaugh is entering the fourth year of a five-year, $25 million contract that he signed back in 2011 after leaving Stanford. Since then, he’s led the 49ers to three consecutive NFC Championship appearances, in addition to a Super Bowl appearance in 2012. He’s also helped them to a 36-11-1 record in those three seasons, which comes out to a 76 percent winning percentage.
The 49ers had not gone to the playoffs for eight consecutive years prior to Harbaugh taking over.
There is no question in my mind that the 49ers should appease Harbaugh and give him the raise that he desires (and deserves). San Francisco is all too familiar with the struggles that go with poor coaching. Whether it be Mike Singletary or Mike Nolan, the fans as well as the organization should not let the past three years of success overshadow the prior decade’s darkness. I still remember standing in front of the television as a kid, yelling at the team week after week, year after year, that seemed to have all the right players but was missing the one piece that puts it all together: a good coach.
Harbaugh is the glue that holds this team together, and Jed York, the 49ers CEO, needs to recognize that. The good news of this story is that the 49ers can now focus on the upcoming season. Contract discussions are tricky things, and while they are usually associated with players under-performing on the field due to the distraction, the same applies to coaches.
I understand that on the other side of the coin, all parties should fulfill the terms of any contract. He does have one more year on his original deal after all. In this situation, however, for a team that will be making numerous tough decisions on players who will be making top dollar, they first have to take care of the guy on the top.