So what’s Jim Harbaugh worth in trade?

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With the tea leaves pointing squarely toward the 49ers trading coach Jim Harbaugh with one year left on his contract, what can the 49ers get for him on the open market?

Fans will be hoping for a Jon Gruden-style haul, especially if Harbaugh is traded to the team that traded Gruden to the Bucs nearly 13 years ago. In early 2002, Tampa Bay gave up two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and $8 million for Gruden, who like Harbaugh was entering the final year of his contract.

Barring a full-blown bidding war, with multiple teams driving up the price, it’s unlikely to happen for the 49ers. Earlier this year, and as PFT previously has reported, the Browns would have gotten Harbaugh for two third-round picks, if Harbaugh ultimately had decided to take the job.

If Harbaugh had wanted the job, he would be coaching the Browns right now. Ultimately, he chose to stay with the 49ers. It’s highly unlikely he’ll make that choice again.

It’s also highly unlikely that Harbaugh would sign off on a trade that would see his new team give up so much to get him. While it would be a nice boost to the ego to have a franchise sacrifice two ones and two twos to get a coach, it also ties one hand behind the coach’s back to lose important assets for building a team. (Then again, maybe he has a recessive gene that keeps him from worrying about not having first- or second-round draft picks.)

Regardless, the Browns set the floor in February, as part of a deal that was far closer to happening that anyone will admit on the record. Unless the 49ers can get the Raiders and the Jets (and maybe another team) to start one-upping each other, the package should be far closer to two threes than the ransom that the Bucs paid for Gruden,

112 responses to “So what’s Jim Harbaugh worth in trade?

  1. It sounds like Harbaugh is gone this offseason if the price is free.

    It’s like that player everyone knows is about to be released. Do you trade a late round pick for him or do you take your chances on the open market?

    If the team valued him as highly as the media, he would never be hitting the market.

    The pieces of the team that Mike Nolan drafted are getting older. It’s always easier to make runs when another coach has stocked the cupboard for you and you. Kaepernick is all Harbaugh though and his legacy should be tied to Kaeps career.

    Mike Nolan, 49ers head coach 2005-2008 (GM: Scot McCloughan, 2005-2010)

    2005
    QB Alex Smith (1.1)
    G David Baas (2.33)
    RB Frank Gore (3.65)
    T Adam Snyder (3.94)

    2006
    TE Vernon Davis (1.6)
    LB Manny Lawson (1.22)
    WR Brandon Williams (3.84)
    RB Michael Robinson (4.100)
    LB Parys Haralson (5.140)
    TE/FB Delanie Walker (6.175)

    2007
    LB Patrick Willis (1.11)
    T Joe Staley (1.28)
    WR Jason Hill (3.76)
    DE Ray McDonald (3.97)
    DE Jay Moore (4.104)
    S Dashon Goldson (4.126)
    CB Tarell Brown (5.147)

    2008
    DT Kentwan Balmer (1.29)
    DB Reggie Smith (3.75)
    C Cody Wallace (4.107)
    WR Josh Morgan (6.174)

  2. A 2nd rd pick. Hes not Belichick yet but he’s good enough to win a lot of games.
    I wouldn’t want my team to hire him because of the fact that he loves chaos and he strives in chaos. Nah!

    *Oh also along with a pair of Khaki pants and gosh some better looking reading glasses. Gosh!
    LOL!

  3. Jim Harbaugh is the most overrated coaching property in football. The dude hasn’t won anything significant at any level of football ever. Not even a single Pac-10 title to his name. Embattled OC Greg Roman is Harbaugh’s hand picked coordinator, and gimmicky joke Colin Kaepernick is his hand picked franchise quarterback. He’s alleged to be an “offensive wizard”, yet the Niners have always led middling offensive units under his tenure, and what does it say about his area of expertise when everyone including 49er fans agree it’s the defense that has largely shouldered the burden of Harbaugh’s poor offenses? A defense that he didn’t construct, as all the major pieces (Willis, Bowman, J. Smith, Brooks, McDonald, etc) were already on the roster before his hire. Not to mention he’s an abrasive hypocrite and obnoxious blowhard to boot. Jim is basically Greg Schiano with the fortune of landing on a much better team.

  4. The Gruden deal was one of the worst in NFL history. No team can survive the loss of two #1’s and two #2’s.. Players picked in those rounds are expected to become starters.
    .

  5. Frankly, what he commands in terms of trade value pales in comparison to the entertainment value of watching the 49ers implode. I’m loving every minute of it.

    It will never happen but I hope the Bills get him just so I can watch Jim Schwartz’s face the minute Harbaugh is hired.

  6. That was a once in a lifetime haul… The 49ers would be lucky to get one third of that if a deal is struck…the Gruden trade was kind of like the Herschel Walker trade….we aren’t going to see those again.

    Different NFL landscape….teams value draft picks too much…

  7. After Tampa Bay gave up two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and $8 million for Gruden, the NFL passed rules that prevent such trades from happening again.

    I would think a media guy would recall that.

  8. As a Raider fan, I’d much prefer the Raiders trade as high as a conditional 3rd rounder for Harbaugh to bringing back Jon Gruden (without giving up draft picks). Harbaugh is just so much > Gruden. Yeah, Jon-boy is a fan favorite (although not of mine), but he ran the excellent team he inherited in Tampa into the ground and has been out of coaching for 7+ years. Whereas Harbaugh has had recent success turning a bad team into a contender.

    Unfortunately, Son-of-Al doesn’t incorporate logic in his cognitive process and therefore I think he’ll go full-throttle in going after “Chucky” rather than Harbaugh (to the further detriment of the team).

  9. They may have set the floor THEN, but it’s likely the ceiling now.

    So much has surfaced about Harbaugh and his issues with management and players since then. No way a team gives a ransom for a low character guy.

  10. A great GM should also be able to find a great HC without having to give up any material. They do exist and they are just waiting to be identified and called. If that person can’t find a valuable coach at an efficient price, then why is that person in charge of scouting and filling the 53 roster spots? The job is to be a complete team architect and to maximize leverage of material assets. I would think that you know you are in good hands when the GM says they would rather focus on finding more ways to buy low and sell high rather than the reverse.

  11. What makes the deal Al Davis swung even more impressive is that Gruden was gone one way or the other.

    You can argue that he was still under contract, but his heart and mind weren’t there, they were in Florida, so he was essentially gone.

    Personally, I don’t think Harbaugh is worth a dime.

  12. If he has any say in the matter, why would he want his new team to give up draft picks.

    Because said new team won’t get him if they don’t pony up. Let’s imagine Harbaugh agrees to be traded to the Raiders, but they don’t want to give up any picks. The 49ers just keep him for his last year. The Raiders then have the choice of keeping their interim HC yet another year, then trying to bid for Harbaugh when he’s free (and better offers might be out there) or just forgetting it altogether and hiring someone else.

    The middle of the road would be for management to get a list of teams that would be acceptable from Harbaugh, then negotiating the best trade they can.

  13. Harbaugh came to the 49ers with a ton of talent already in place.

    Yet, they still havent won a SB, and the talent is starting to get older and leave for more lucrative contracts.

    Honestly, I wouldnt trade anything for him. If he went to a place like Jacksonville, or Buffalo, or any other team without a starting caliber QB in place, he wouldnt do too well.

    He got lucky on Kaepernick. And he already had Smith when he arrived. He hasnt had to deal with a franchise with a bare cupboard. And I dont think he would succeed if he did.

  14. How quickly they forget…. 3 NFC championship games in a row. And found Andrew Luck at Stanford.. But yea. He’s garbage and overrated. Lol good luck replacing him niner fans.

  15. Is this totally media driven? The guy is a successful coach at every level. It appears he uses the Billy Martin method of motivating his players, which wears thin after 2-3 years, but is this true? Do we have any verification that he has lost this team? Or is everything “sources.”

    Anyway, thanks Mike for the provocative musing material, thanks Eagles Win for the work on that chart. And I’d give the 49’ers Lovie and a barrel of jockstraps if I was Tampa Bay.

  16. I’d trade Alex Smith for him straight up.

    That way we could get rid of our two biggest problems with one move.

    Fat Andy out, a younger headcase in.

    I’m sick of Reid ignoring Jamaal Charles like he does his children, or a salad.

  17. “The Gruden deal was one of the worst in NFL history. No team can survive the loss of two #1’s and two #2’s.. Players picked in those rounds are expected to become starters.”

    Unless of course they are traded to the Raiders…then they become busts…

  18. cakesw says:
    Dec 2, 2014 7:37 AM
    That was a once in a lifetime haul… The 49ers would be lucky to get one third of that if a deal is struck…the Gruden trade was kind of like the Herschel Walker trade….we aren’t going to see those again.

    Different NFL landscape….teams value draft picks too much…

    —————————————————-

    Great point.

    With the rookie salary cap today, top draft picks are far more valuable than they were – you no longer have to worry about tying up $50-60 million for a top pick in the draft and screwing your salary cap for years to come.

    AND…if the player you pick really turns out to be a star, you can kick the can down the road a couple years and plan for the big contract in the future…

  19. eagleswin

    Jim Harbaugh coaching record 43-6-1
    2011 – 13-3
    2012 – 11-4-1
    2013 – 12-4
    2014 – 7-5

    Mike Nolan’s coaching record 18-37
    2005 4-12
    2006 7-9
    2007 5-11
    2008 2-5

    It seems Harbaugh has been able to win consistently with players that Nolan couldn’t win with. From 2003 till Harbaugh joined the 49ers never won more than 7 games in a season. As soon as Harbaugh became coach they haven’t finished any season with less than 11 wins. That’s the hallmark of a great coach. If you want to complain he hasn’t drafted great players OK bit 1. Harbaugh is not the GM and 2. that has nothing to do with great coaching. Belicheck who actually has final say so on drafts hasn’t had a great one for years yet Belicheck the coach consistently wins.

    Oh well I guess once the 49ers hit bottom again post Harbaugh they’ll see.

  20. Say what you will about his coaching style, etc. Dude is a head case, and I wouldn’t want him anywhere near my team.

  21. I think with Michigan firing Brady Hoke today we will soon find out if he has any interest in Michigan. If he does, he could walk at any moment, especially given how vocal the 49ers have been about having abundant replacements on the existing staff.

  22. All those Bucs picks they gave up for Gruden were worth it. They won a Super Bowl the next year.

    I bet half the fan bases in the NFL would give up those picks to win a Super Bowl if they could.

  23. The Patriots gave up a first round pick to the Jets to get Bill Belichick. At the time, Belichick had no track record of success as a head coach. I would think Harbaugh ought to be worth that type of compensation as well.

  24. Nebraska just fired their head coach. I know the Huskers fans would love to have him and the pay is great. Bo is getting around 8 million this year.

  25. A bag of pretzels sounds fair.

    Other teams fans envy our teams players. Other teams players envy our teams fans. #choochoohawksdynastytrain
    #12thmanisheretostay #dynastybeforeyoureyes #kissthering

  26. Why would he let them trade him to one of those crap franchises and why would one of those franchises trade for him if they knew he won’t stick around? The jets are a dumpster fire and so is Oakland.

  27. If Harbaugh does not cooperate and sign an extension with the new team, they are trading for the last year of Harbaugh’s coaching contract. No team will trade to get just his lame duck year. Why would Harbaugh agree to an extension with a team now when he can wait things out, pick his next stop, and negotiate a contract he likes?

    A trade doesn’t happen because Harbaugh has no incentive to cooperate, which he must do to make it worthwhile for the team that gives up value for him.

  28. Kelly says:
    Dec 2, 2014 8:48 AM
    All those Bucs picks they gave up for Gruden were worth it. They won a Super Bowl the next year.

    I bet half the fan bases in the NFL would give up those picks to win a Super Bowl if they could.

    ==============================

    And then proceeded to miss the playoffs for the next 6 or 7 years getting progressively worse until he was fired.

    Thankfully for him that he won that first year with players he neither drafted nor particularly wanted and that’s all that people remember.

    The media still annually tries to shoehorn him into every coaching position using that one year as the reason, ignoring the rest of his coaching record with the Bucs.

    He annually had more QBs than WRs on his roster.

  29. muslimponder says:
    Dec 2, 2014 7:22 AM
    Jim Harbaugh is the most overrated coaching property in football. The dude hasn’t won anything significant at any level of football ever.
    _____
    I’m not a 49ers fan by any menas, but he took essentially the same team that Mike Singletary mooned to 3 straight NFC title games and 1 Super Bowl. So he can coach. The question is, what does a team want to sacrifice to get the good coaching and all the histrionics that come along with him?

  30. I like how all these people are pointing out he’s winning with “other peoples talent”. IE, Mike Nolan drafts.

    Well, how come Mike Nolan never won with them? Not even doing any better than 7-9 in one of his 3 full seasons. ‘

    Harbaugh has never won less than 10 games in any season so far.

    If you are going to credit someone, credit the GM at the time, Scot McCloughan.

  31. Someone beat me to it with an opening bid of a pair of khakis. I’ll up the bid to my old iPhone 4 and a set of 1980’s Topps baseball cards in “good” condition.

  32. Letting Jim and his stable of assistant coaches go would free up a lot of cash for a quality coach staff I would think.

    Trade him to unemployment in exchange for a brighter future.

  33. I fully expect Harbaugh to strong arm the 49ers and choose his next destination. They seem intent on letting Harbaugh go, and that seems foolish. They appear to have a very short memory.

  34. San Fran better make damn sure that whomever they pick up can coach! One false move there and they’re worse than they will end up by the time the season ends under Harbaugh.

    I can see this move blowing up in their faces.

  35. As a long suffering Raider fan, I’ll take Harbaugh as a my head coach in a second. I don’t care what we have to give up to get him. Hopefully, Harbaugh takes the Raider job and insists on a new GM. All of the idiots that wonder why he would take the Raider job, because its the only job in the NFL where an 8-8 record will make you a hero. I’m sure Harbaugh’s ego tells him he can get the Raiders to 8-8.

    By the way, you want to know how hard it’s been to be a Raider fan. What to know who we got with those 4 draft picks from the Bucs for John Gruden……Phillip Buchanon, Langston Walker, Tyler Brayton and Jake Grove. 🙁

  36. chuckxx says:
    Dec 2, 2014 9:08 AM
    Nebraska just fired their head coach. I know the Huskers fans would love to have him and the pay is great. Bo is getting around 8 million this year

    ————————————

    No head coach, college or pro makes 8 mil a year.

  37. “Never won the the title so not a good coach” Seriously? Carol finally won one this year and his college title(s) were late in his coaching career. As were coughlins, Harbaugh is unlikable when he’s not your coach but he wins a lot and theres not a pro coach who doesn’t think he is one of the top minds in football. As for the team being stocked there were a lot of misses in the McCloughan era to, considering where they were picking they had as many misses as the current GM and were slotted in the top ten every year.

  38. The Raiders suck. They are about to get a lot better. Welcome, greater San Francisco metropolitan area, to your new best team.

  39. Why would Harbaugh ok a trade?

    He has the 49ers by their stones.

    Harbaugh will say hell no.
    The 49er’s will then fire him, and he can go coach wherever he wants.

    The trade talk is pretty silly IMO.

  40. So long as he keeps getting you deep in the playoffs, stick with Harbaugh. There’s only one move I like involving trading Harbaugh, and that’s if they trade him and hire Gruden.

    Mobile QB who needs work on his fundamentals and reads, a stack of RBs and WRs. Defense you can leave more or less on its own while you make the O better? Gruden.

  41. Blank trades Julio Jones for Harbaugh and a couple of middle draft picks over 1-2 years or buys out Harbaugh’s contract outright. Man with that kind of cheese isn’t going to think too long about trading.

  42. Anyone else a little floored to think back on those Raiders getting 2-2’s and 2-1’s for Gruden and still not being worth a damn for the next 13 years (after the tuck rule game)?

  43. At what point do the media admit that they fabricated this entire “turmoil” involving Harbaugh. Some clueless troll posts the drafts under Nolan yet forgot to post the win-loss records too.

    THAT has been the difference with Harbaugh at the helm, he realized the potential of that talent on the roster. Unless York and Co. want to revert back to the days of high draft picks and plenty of losses then they should get rid of Jim.

  44. “The league Thursday banned the type of trade that enabled the Bucs to sign Gruden. The new policy was announced in a memo to all 32 teams by commissioner Paul Tagliabue, league spokesman Greg Aiello said.”

  45. Niners have no leverage here. Only 3 scenarios will happen.

    1) He stays and coaches out his final year. (Niners definitely do not want that)

    2) They work a trade with someone FOR WHATEEVER THEY CAN GET. (This is ideal for them, they don’t have to pay his salary next year, he will be gone, and they get a little something of a draft pick, not more than a single 3rd rounder in my opinion)

    3) They fire him at seasons end, have to pay him next year, and he probably goes to the team they could have traded him to anyways.

    you boys really got yourself in a pickle here.

  46. I, for one, will miss JH if he leaves the 49ers. He is so damn entertaining! They are our greatest rival and their coach is pure entertainment.

    I will still watch his crazy press conferences wherever he turns up but it’s not the same as when he is the coach of your perpetual rival!

    Good luck you Jive Turkey Gobbler!

  47. 6ball says:
    Dec 2, 2014 7:26 AM
    The Gruden deal was one of the worst in NFL history. No team can survive the loss of two #1’s and two #2’s.. Players picked in those rounds are expected to become starters.
    .

    112 14
    Report comment
    —————————————————————–

    While I can’t completely argue with you about the value of those picks. Gruden proceeded to immediately lift a Lombardi for Tampa.

    I think most every fan on the planet would trade their next two #1s and 2s for an immediate Lombardi.|

    Being a Hawks fan…. I’d give up our entire draft in April if you told me we could lift it again this year.

    I know thats short sided, and not long term thinking. But I’m a fan, and not a GM. I don’t need to think long term. John Schneider does.

  48. Harbaugh=Rex Ryan=Bill Parcells

    Good coaches, but they all had a schtick that doesn’t last more than a few years. Even Parcells in NYG had to tear the whole team down and build it back up because they stopped buying in. Look at their records–you get 4 years with these guys, then it’s time to move on.

    And for those of you saying the 49ers win nothing without harbaugh, you can say the same for the guy picking his players–Trent Baalke. So is it really Harbaugh, or his players responsible for their success? Given that he’s not that great of an Xs and Os kind of guy, the answer is pretty clear.

  49. mrmaddness says:
    Dec 2, 2014 9:22 AM
    I like how all these people are pointing out he’s winning with “other peoples talent”. IE, Mike Nolan drafts.

    Well, how come Mike Nolan never won with them?
    ———————————————————————-

    Because that all that talent was young and needed time to get up to NFL speed. Patrick Willis the rookie isn’t the same as Patrick Willis the 4th year player.

  50. Harbaugh has 0 trade value. What did he manage to do? Ruin the 49ers perfect super bowl win record. He switched QBs for selfish motives. He made fools out of his bosses after stringing them along with kaepernick hype. Conf games under Harubah would be relevant only if the 49ers could trade 1 in for a super bowl WIN. Otherwise, their value is the same as Harbaugh’s trade potential which is 0! Throw in Harbaugh’s histrionics elevates his trade value to disaster level.

  51. Hey, If Harbaugh knew anything about QB’s he would find a COACH to get Krapernick ready to be a legit NFL QB … period. Geno, Kaep great athletes cant play a lick as NFL caliber QB’S

  52. They haven’t gotten a deal done in SF because Harbaugh is demanding too much $$$. He wants Belicheck-type money.
    He deserves a big raise but not that much…until he wins a Super Bowl.
    Whomever gets him next year will have to agree to a huge contract and surrender some high picks, which will limit the field of suitors.

    The Jets are so desperate to make a splash in their huge media market, they will offer the best package to Jed York/Baalke.

    One big catch: Harbs has to sign off on it too (and his wife) which could be a problem.
    The solution: overpay him, like he’s already got a ring. Which the Jets would likely do.

    Harbaugh has done a very good, but not great job in SF. Hasn’t won on the biggest of stages, and is a headache to the front office. You have to win Super Bowls to get your bosses to overlook that stuff and cough up the cash you want. The only real complaint I have about his coaching: offensive play calling/design in the absolute most critical situations has been poor (Super Bowl and two losses in NFC title games).

    If he had been better in those situations, he would already have a few rings and his $$$ in a long term deal.

  53. Harbaugh has a difficult time with the media. He views the media as the enemy and guys like Tim Kawakami, Grant Cohn, Lowell Cohn, and others prove Harbaugh is right to treat them as enemies. The media don’t like him personally and they don’t like his handling of personnel issues – primarily the Ray McDonald situation. People should take the issues with Harbaugh and his players with a grain of salt. There isn’t a coach in the NFL who gets more out of his players on the field. They play hard on every snap for him and for each other. The proof is in the pudding. Harbaugh has had great success coaching a team that was terrible for a decade. The Patriots gave the Jets a first round pick to allow the Pats to hire Belichick. It wasn’t really a trade. Since that was 15 years ago and prices have increased I’d say Harbaugh is worth at least a first and second round pick. If Belichick were on the market today, he’d probably go for 2 firsts or maybe even 3 firsts. Harbaugh isn’t worth that much so I’m going with a first and second. Niners could possibly even get 2 firsts if they bargain hard.

  54. I can’t wrap my head around the thoughts of wanting a coach gone who has taken his team to three consecutive NFC Championship games & one Super Bowl appearance in the past three seasons. You 49er fans must suffer from a very severe case of short term memory.

    Head case or not, as a Redskins fan, I’d be proud of the fact that my team could make it that close to the Super Bowl in consecutive years and one super bowl appearance. Sure, not winning it all is a tough pill to swallow, but try being a bad team for the last 20 years.

  55. None of it matters though. Harbaugh will be coaching Michigan next year. Greg Roman will go with him but Vic Fangio will stay in SF to be the Def Coordinator for new head coach Darrell Bevell. Trent Baalke will be fired for drafting AJ Jenkins, Jimmie Ward, Tank Carradine, Vance McDonald, Corey Lemonier, Quinton Patton, and the entire 2012 draft class. Scott McLoughan will have kicked his abuse problem to return triumphantly to the 49ers as the new GM.

  56. gregorysykesworld says:
    Dec 2, 2014 12:50 PM

    I can’t wrap my head around the thoughts of wanting a coach gone who has taken his team to three consecutive NFC Championship games & one Super Bowl appearance in the past three seasons. You 49er fans must suffer from a very severe case of short term memory.
    ________________________________

    Its not the 49er fans that want him gone. Its the front office, SF media and hater fans from other teams that would love to have them with their team. Why else would they care so much about him.

  57. 1. Nolan could find talent, but not make use of it. Harbaugh can make use of it, but can’t find it. Take your pick.

    2. Nothing says the front office has to let him go in time for him to get another job elsewhere. They could easily fire him in March, promote Tomsula as interim and Harbaugh would be sitting around being forgotten for the next season.

    3. If Harbaugh should force them to fire him and he gets another gig, SF gets the $5 million back for that year, whether it’s from him or his new team. So it’s not that big a deal, they just wouldn’t have gotten any picks for him.

  58. He’s under contract for 2015. The niners win out the rest of the season and grab the 6th seed. The loss of Willis and Bowman are too much to overcome yielding a second round playoff exit. Harbaugh resigns his contract this off season as both he and FO agreed to table contract negotiations until the end of this season. With a rejuvenated roster, back at full health, San Francisco rides a 14-2 season and caps it off with a Super Bowl 50 win in Levi’s Field. All is right in the world and the balance has been restored.

  59. If I may make a suggestion. Please, look into who the 49ers plan on getting to replace Harbaugh.

    Here’s my opinion of who might be candidates:

    Eric Mangini
    Vic Fagio
    Mike Shanahan
    John Gruden

  60. Hey Jim before you go to Raiders and become part of trash nation please kick them in the teeth this weekend. The one win Raiders think this is their Superbowl but they will get hammered like they always do.

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