Whatever 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh wants on a new contract, whatever the 49ers have offered isn’t good enough. And so Harbaugh and the team have agreed to table any discussions on a new deal until after the season.
“We actually just had this conversation [Wednesday],” owner Jed York said on CSN Bay Area’s Yahoo! SportsTalk Live. “Lots of people were talking to him about it. We just said, ‘You know what, let’s not do anything during the season. Let’s sit down a week or so after the season is over and let everybody know we’re not focused on anything that’s off the field right now.’
“Jim and I will sit down a week or so after the season is over and we’ll figure out where we go.”
Where they go after the season will depend in large part on where they go during the season. If Harbaugh wins the franchise’s first Super Bowl in 20 years, his leverage and price go up. If he has another season that entails knocking on the door but not kicking it in, he may still want more than the 49ers want to pay.
And if that’s the case, the 49ers will have to decide whether to let Harbaugh coach out his contract and become a free agent, allow him to leave if a college program offers him the money he wants, or trade him to another NFL team — as they came a lot closer to doing with the Browns than anyone will admit.
If the 49ers make it to the playoffs, the potential universe of NFL openings will be known before York and Harbaugh have their chat. And with most owners inclined to fire coaches of bad teams making up their minds to make a change well before the end of the season, there’s a good chance that the 49ers will have a good idea what they could get for Harbaugh, if they decide to swap the final year of his deal for draft picks.
So this could indeed be Harbaugh’s last year with the 49ers. And now any potentially interested college or NFL program can decide whether to include him on their wish list.