Lost in the sudden rise to NFL coaching prominence of Jim Harbaugh is the unique, to say the least, manner in which leverage was built.
Harbaugh used not one but two agents to negotiate his contract. And not two agents with one firm. Two agents with different firms.
It’s not unprecedented when it comes to players. Often, two otherwise competing agents come together and work on behalf of — and at the behest of — one client. Rarely if ever does a coach employ agents from different agencies.
Harbaugh has been represented in the past by Jack Bechta. Superagent David Dunn, however, had become more and more prominent in conjunction with Harbaugh’s leap from Stanford to, eventually, the San Francisco 49ers.
Though some league and media insiders believe that Dunn handled the situation and that Bechta had no role, it appears that Dunn handled Harbaugh’s NFL search and that Bechta presided over the talks with Stanford.
Mindi Bach of CSNBayArea.com was the first to report on the connection. She also pointed out that Dunn represents the two men whose interviews allowed the 49ers to comply with the Rooney Rule as to their G.M. and head coach vacancy, Tony Softli and Hue Jackson, respectively.
Though we don’t have a huge problem with the approach (one media insider characterized it to us as “very greasy”), we continue to be confused about Harbaugh’s skyrocket to the top of the “A” list over men like Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher. Apparently, Harbaugh was pursued because he didn’t insist on the same amount of money and/or power that the other men would have wanted. But given the money that was invested in Harbaugh, we would have been inclined to cough up a little more and likewise defer all personnel moves to guys who have won Super Bowls at the NFL level.
UPDATE: Agent Kennard McGuire has contacted PFT to correct Bach’s report that Dunn represents Hue Jackson. McGuire says that he currently represents Jackson.