It’s a given in league circles that 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to sign a new contract because he wants more money than the 49ers are willing to pay. Per multiple reports (which are accurate), Harbaugh wants to be paid like a Super Bowl-winning coach, and the 49ers aren’t ready to do that until he, you know, wins a Super Bowl.
Earlier this year, Harbaugh denied wanting to be the highest-paid coach in football, without specifically addressing whether he wants to be paid like a coach who has won a Super Bowl. More recently, Harbaugh has gone the rest of the way.
“For the record, I have never asked to be the highest-paid coach in football,” Harbaugh tells Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. “I have never asked to be paid like a Super Bowl-winning coach. I have never asked for more power. Nor has anybody asked for those things on my behalf, which anybody in this organization can attest to, and all the focus will be on the 2014 season and achieving our goals of the team.”
Harbaugh also denies betting that his value will go up, not down, over time by not doing a new deal with two years left on his current contract.
“I don’t bet,” Harbaugh said. “If I bet on anything, it’s for a chocolate milkshake. That’s the extent of the stakes I bet on.”
Here’s the flaw in Harbaugh’s denials. If he didn’t want to be the highest-paid coach or to be paid like a Super Bowl-winning coach or to bet on himself in the hopes of getting more money later, he’d already have a new contract.
Last year, an effort to extend his contract occurred. And failed. This year, more talks occurred. As of June 5, the 49ers had made Harbaugh an offer. And Harbaugh had not responded.
Downplay it or deny it, there’s an impasse because Harbaugh wants more than the team has offered. If he didn’t, he’d already have financial security beyond 2015.
For even more obtuse remarks from Harbaugh that could trigger a sudden desire to bang your head against the wall, read the whole interview. But put on a helmet first.