Harbaugh used unusual two-agent approach

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.

26 responses to “Harbaugh used unusual two-agent approach

  1. I can understand why Harbaugh vaulted over Gruden. Gruden isn’t really that great of a coach. He won a Super Bowl with Dungy’s team. You may be correct with Cowher. Maybe teams realized he still wasn’t ready to come back.

  2. I think what we should have is a rookie coaching salary cap, just like a rookie salary cap. So tired of seeing failed coaches walking away with millions in pay for years and years as a reward for their ineptitude.

  3. Pretty spot on with the last paragraph. I’m gonna laugh when this guy is getting fired in 3 years (who knows, maybe even 2?).

    His brother’s a decent coach, but pretty damn overrated. As for him, when’s the last time a great college coach has come in and set the NFL on fire? Jimmy Johnson? Lol, you’d think after all the disasters with this approach over the past 10 years, teams would hesitate doing the same.

    I guess it energizes the fanbase for a little bit, though. Right, Yorkie?

  4. Harbaugh would have screwed himself by taking Miami’s offer… for that amount of money, anything less than multiple Super Bowls would have been a failure.

    Even for the $5 million from San Fran, he’d better not end up 6-10 next season.

  5. What’s so special about Gruden and Cowher?

    Cowher was the head coach who gave us Kordell Stewart at QB, if you remember. Also, how many AFC championship games did his teams lose before making it to the Superbowl?

    Gruden managed one Superbowl win with a team someone else built. After that, it was a tedious spiral down the drain for the Bucs, from which they are just now beginning to recover.

    Sure, there are worse candidates than those two, but certainly no reason to think Harbaugh is any less qualified. By all accounts, he’s done a fantastic job turning around a moribund football program at Stanford.

  6. Genius. Pay two agents so you can take the lower offer. Implement the wco but don’t have a QB to run it. Lots of luck Niner fans.

  7. Those “guys” did not make the personnel decisions and when Gruden did the Bucs were average at best. Gruden won with Dungys roster and Cowher with a Rooney roster.

  8. “one media insider characterized it to us as “very greasy”

    What, like every agent on the face of the planet doesn’t leave a slime trail behind them when they walk ?

  9. Thank god we finally got a coach that has been a head coach. All these bum ass coaches we’ve had lately were killin the team. We get a qb and one more good corner and were right back in the mix.

  10. Who’s to say Gruden or Cowher are good with personnel decisions?
    The Gruden/Allen combo for instance has a history of very bad drafts.

  11. Bubby Brister said on
    Jan 8, 2011 10:12 AM:
    brother’s a decent coach, but pretty damn overrated. As for him, when’s the last time a great college coach has come in and set the NFL on fire? Jimmy Johnson? Lol, you’d think after all the disasters with this approach over the past 10 years, teams would hesitate doing the same.”


    Would you rather have them take a chance on one of the many failed Belichick assistants that have tried their hand at head coaching?

    IMO, the utter disaster of Belichick’s coaching tree is under reported. The media can suck up to the Patriots all they want, but their collective failure to constantly raise the issue of Belichick’s coaching tree speaks volumes.

  12. SF couldn’t afford the damn snacks that a Sexy Rexy Ryan type of coach would demand.

    thingamajig – the highest pay is not always the best fit and doesn’t guarantee success or long tenure. See the highly paid 7 head coaches of the Danskins. How’d that work out?

  13. I think the 49er job is a sleeping giant. They lost this season because of poor QB play and poorer coaching. If Harbaugh can find a way to correct the former, he’ll look like he corrected the latter. Their division is historically bad so he’ll have a better chance at winning his division than most first year coaches.

    Singletary was awful. Mama Harbaugh would have been a huge improvement over him. He should have never gotten the job.

  14. Tony Dungy couldn’t seem to win with Tony Dungys team, he needed Peyton Manning and Bill Polian to win one for him.

  15. palinforpresidentofnorthkorea- The two points I brought up were knocks on Harbaugh not on the Niners. I thought that was pretty obvious.

  16. Jim Harbaugh has lost my respect. He’s a sleazeball for having negotiations with Miami while they still have a sitting head coach. It shows a lack of character and a disregard for the NFL coaching fraternity.

  17. @cmdrbuffalo

    Cowher is a great coach. He also has a good eye for talent. You mentioned Kordell Stewart. Cowher’s only fault is that he kept giving Kordell more chances. Cowher’s teams were ripe with talent.

    The failed AFC championships… Two were against the Patriots. Yes the ‘Cheating’ Patriots. The vast majority of the destroyed tapes were of the Steelers. If he wasn’t such a good coach, tell me why he was the most taped by the supposed genius in New England.

  18. @kjack0077: Yeah, because all those other NFL head coaches are so principled and truthful all the time…

  19. @loralon: so you apparently have the inside scoop that NOBODY else had on Spygate? Yeah, that’s believable.. Cowher was a good coach, no doubt. But he only won 1 super bowl in 15 years. Not exactly stellar for a “great” coach..

  20. Harbaugh transfer to the NFL will be much smoother than all college coaches. Stanford ran a NFL pro style system on both sides of the ball. Took a 1-11 team with the seniors graduating with a 12-1 record and a orange bowl victory. Did that with installing a very effective offensive system with Stanford averaging 40 plus a game.

    If you watched atleast 5 Stanford games you know Harbaugh his the real deal.

    Fleener with 6 catches, 173 yards and 3 TD’s – Visions of Vernon Davis doing the same with Harbaugh. GREAT FREAKN HIRE!

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