Harbaugh could try to prevent a trade, in theory

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The discussions and speculation about what the 49ers could get for coach Jim Harbaugh in trade for the final year of Harbaugh’s contract overlooks one key point.

What if Harbaugh doesn’t want to be traded?

Harbaugh holds more cards in this looming drama than he’s getting credit for. If he doesn’t like the idea of joining a new team that will be hamstrung by the loss of one or more draft picks, he can set his jaw and/or apply whatever other cliché he chooses and tell the 49ers he’ll continue to remain on the job until he’s released from his contract.

It’s equal parts Costanza showing up for work at Play Now and Costanza trying to convince the parents of his dead fiancée that he has a house in the Hamptons.  Harbaugh makes it clear he’ll coach the 49ers for 2015, and the only way the 49ers will be able to keep that from happening will be to fire him or let him walk away without compensation.

That may sound a little far fetched.  But it also sounds like precisely the thing Harbaugh would be inclined to do if the 49ers try to hold his new team hostage with draft picks Harbaugh would prefer to have available.

45 responses to “Harbaugh could try to prevent a trade, in theory

  1. No way Harbaugh allows the 49ers to determine where he goes. If he leaves next year, he’ll be fired. He will then do everything in his power to spite York and Baalke for the remainder of his career while smugly denying that there are any hard feelings. Whatever team he coaches for next is going to win a Superbowl. I know, without a doubt, this will happen because life takes a dump on my head every chance it gets.

  2. This is one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard. Why would any team trade draft picks for a coach. Unless he’s a proven super bowl champion in his prime that would be flat out crazy. Who’s crazy enough to think that this could happen?

  3. All they have to do is agree to keep him for the final year.

    Other teams with HC vacancies will manage to find suitable candidates. The NFL does not revolve around Harbaugh.

    If he tanks their season, they have an excellent draft pick to offer his replacement.

  4. Many of us have been saying this since these smoke screens started. But the more precise reason is why would a team trade for a coach that is going to be fired at years end? At worst in less than 2 years. 40 Whiners have zero leverage to try and trade.

  5. The speculation on this matter could not be any more ridiculously all over the map. Earlier in the year he was most definitely going to Michigan, then the other day reports came out that he would be traded to the Raiders or Jets, then a report saying there’s a possibility he could re-sign with the Niners after all. I think I’ll just try this totally innovative and ground breaking strategy called waiting to see what actually happens, when it happens.

  6. Is there any other team that would be interested in Harbaugh with his outrageous power demands besides the Raiders?

  7. For all that Harbaugh has done, they treated him like crap.

    It’s easy to say, well any coach can with this team. Therein lies the problem, other coaches had these players and couldn’t get the same out of them that Harbaugh did.

    He was asking to be paid like a SB winning coach. In most markets you could easily laugh that away. In the SF market, with the teams history, they need a winner. We all remember what happened between the time of Jeff Garcia and pre Harbaugh.

    What it comes down to is this.

    1. You pay him his SB Tier money and they win a SB
    2. You don’t pay him his SB Tier money and they win a SB
    3. You don’t pay him his SB Tier money, and he walks
    4. You pay him his SB Tier money, and he doesn’t win.

    Whatever happens, if Harbaugh leaves and has success, that will be a dagger in the hearts of 49er fans everywhere. No one would remember if they gave him SB Tier money and they never won, but they will surely remember him leaving and winning on another team.

    Lastly, he has Balke’s huevos in his hand. All he has to say is I’m not signing with you and the suitors will drop like flies. He might be a PITA and an arrogant SOB, but he does keep true to his word. He will play for you in 2015 if he has too, but once that contract is up, he’ll be gone.

  8. The 49ers are losing it. Why would you expect a man to walk into a situation where you hurt the team he is going to be responsible for coaching in order to keep coaching?
    What if Harbaugh doesn’t sign a contract extension with his new team… is he an automatic 1 and done?
    Michigan needs to wait to see how this plays out before they hire another coach.
    I would LOVE to see Harbaugh mix it up in the Big 10.

  9. I bet Harbaugh is kicking himself for turning down Cleveland and the chance to coach Johnny Bieber.

  10. Now that fantasy coach is in action, can we up it to fantasy owner? I’ll trade D Synder for Jerry Jones. Both suck as owners so a fair trade, but JJ is a bit more charismatic!

  11. He won’t go college :#1 . It’s a step down.
    #2. He won’t kiss ass .
    #3. He turns many people off, so recruiting would be a problem.

    He is under contract and has no protection in regards to trades. The 49ers CAN trade him to the highest bidder. Harbaugh would be under contract for through 2015. Something will be worked out…enter Jon Gruden ? David Shaw would be a complete and utter disaster.

  12. the 9ers have a fair amount of leverage in terms of timing. Harbaugh could tell the 9ers he is sticking around and the 9ers can say great. Once all the coaching vacancies are filled, they then fire Harbaugh. He would have to wait until next year to find an opening and it might not be anywhere close to where his wife wants to live.

  13. As a Seahawks fan I almost feel bad for “niner nation”.

    All Harbaugh has done is get the close, and then repeatedly embarrassed by rival Seattle.

    Unfortunately what was becoming the best rivalry in football might be over before it really gets started if the Seahawks dominate the 49ers again in a couple weeks, pushing the series to a 5-1 run in favor of Seattle.

    At least we got a heck of an NFC title game out of it. I’m actually kinda sad to see the Carroll v. Harbaugh matchup come to an end.

  14. Harbaugh will quit – even if costs him millions – before he allows the Niners to determine who he works for next.

    Not to mention, why would any team trade draft picks for a coach knowing that it would only give their new coach less of what he needs to be successful, right off the bat?

  15. If your a team in a position or in need to have to try and trade for a coach to turn your franchise around, it’s safe to say that in recent drafts you have already chosen poorly several times in several rounds and have squandered numerous drafts picks which is in part why you are needing to try and trade for a coach. Who cares if you have to give up a 3rd or 4th rounder? Big deal. A GOOD coach is worth it. the draft is a crap shoot, if you can give a few mid to low round picks to get a proven commodity in a winning coach you would be stupid to not jump on that.

  16. For all the talk of success, Harbaugh has yet to win the big game. That gives him about as much leverage as Norv Turner, who is currently an OC.

    He walked into the ideal situation with a team ready-to-go in SF…he couldn’t get them over the hump. He will not be so lucky in his next situation.

    If his wife is so dead set on living in the Bay area, his choices are limited…

    a) He can agree to be traded to Oakland before they give up and hire someone else.

    b) He can maintain 2 houses – his current one and one in his new team’s area.

    c) He can get a divorce.

  17. bbrophy1 says:
    Dec 2, 2014 2:32 PM
    the 9ers have a fair amount of leverage in terms of timing. Harbaugh could tell the 9ers he is sticking around and the 9ers can say great. Once all the coaching vacancies are filled, they then fire Harbaugh.

    unless he is fired for cause, the 49ers would have to pay him that final year of his contract so…I don’t know if that would be leverage. Its not like he won’t be able to find another job when he wants.

  18. This is confusing. Are NFL coaches tradeable like players or not? If so, wouldn’t players be able to do the same thing?

  19. First, the Niners would try to send Jim to a team he’d want to go to (i.e., Oakland). Second, if Harbaugh wants to be petty and ensure that the Niners receive no/little compensation for trading him (even to a team he wants to go to), the Niners can screw him in return. They can reach a wink/nod agreement with a new HC or agree to promote from within, and then wait until February or March, when all the other teams HC vacancies are filled…and then fire Jim, leaving him nowhere to coach in 2015. Or, the Niners could wait until all the other teams have filled their vacancies but the one we’re trying to trade him to, leaving him the choice of either being a HC in 2015 or waiting until 2016.

  20. Harwhine will get picked up somewhere else and he’ll be obnoxious there, too. I like his brother better.

  21. The Niners of 25 years ago were the Patriots of today. The Jed York of today, however, is still the Jed York of today.

  22. I’m no Niner fan, but York and Baalke are ruining a great thing. Harbaugh is a top coach and the organization will be sorry for this for years to come.

    What top-tier coach would want that job after they forced out the previous top-tier coach??

    It will have to be a college guy who wants to move into the NFL.

  23. bbrophy1 says:
    Dec 2, 2014 2:32 PM
    the 9ers have a fair amount of leverage in terms of timing. Harbaugh could tell the 9ers he is sticking around and the 9ers can say great. Once all the coaching vacancies are filled, they then fire Harbaugh.

    But then the Niners will have missed out on all of the “hot” coaching candidates since “all the coaching vacancies are filled” as you say. Doesn’t give them much leverage at all.

  24. Harbaugh won’t let them trade him to someplace he doesn’t want to go. He really wants to stay in the area though and go to Oakland. He’ll agree to a decent deal to prevent having to sit out a year. He’ll want to pick his own QB unless Kaep gets traded with him. I think it will be something like Carr and a 2nd or 3rd round pick for him.

    I agree that if he plays hardball, the 49ers would just keep him for a few months and then just elevate Tomsula. Do the 49ers have the option of keeping him and suspending him or demoting him to an assistant and telling him not to show up? Is there a way to keep his rights to trade and still replace him? He won’t want to sit out a year. As long as he gets traded to where he wants to go and the comp isn’t too high, it will happen. The 49ers aren’t going to just fire him and let him go for nothing.

  25. Coaches cannot be traded without their ok. And technically, they are not traded. The current team is simply being compensated by the new team for letting the coach out of his contract with the current team. It’s happened twice recently – Gruden from Oak to TB & Belichek from NYJ to NE.

  26. I’ve never understood how coaches can be traded. They aren’t players. Does that mean anyone employed by an NFL team can be traded? We could have a lot of fun with this.

  27. As a 49ers fan, van gio is going to be the bigger loss than harbaugh if the entire staff leaves. The offense is a mess and it’s not due to lack of talent. If kap wasn’t extended early, gabbert would have seen some snaps by now. Harbaugh inherited a good young team, he missed his chance to win a super bowl, this season has been a disaster from the off-season issues. Time to bring in pep Hamilton and a real nfl quarterback.

  28. It’s interesting how the press creates stories THEY want to hear…Not once have I read York is letting Harbaugh go…Not once have I read Baalke and Harbaugh don’t get along. Oh wait is this coming from the never mentioned “My Source” if the 49ers decision makers are stupid enough to let Harbaugh go then they deserve every Dennis Erickson type coach they get for the next 20 years….

  29. I don’t think it’s a stretch at all.

    He vetoed the Cleveland trade.

    SF will try to trade him; if Harbaugh likes the destination and deal (and so does his wife), he likely lets it happen.

    If not I’d be shocked if he didn’t set his jaw.

  30. Some on here are missing an important point.

    Niners have to pay Harbaugh for next year unless someone else does.

    They aren’t going to try to fire him late out of some kind of spite so that he can’t get another job.

    Money is money.

  31. like anybody is going to trade for him… he has 5 million reasons to get fired.

  32. Harbaugh should coach for the Raiders and HE would know how to handle a talented young qb like Carr – instead of how the coaching staff of the Raiders has been ruining him!

  33. sfblows says:
    Dec 2, 2014 2:14 PM
    The Raiders have a brighter future than the 9ers at this point. 49ers have a bad QB, bad stadium, bad O coach.

    Oh yeah, O.Co is the gem of the NFL.

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