Jim Harbaugh’s future in the NFL may or not be in San Francisco. A recent report indicates the 49ers head coach could sign an extension with the team or be traded.
The 49ers are currently 7-5, but are in danger of missing the playoffs after an abysmal 19-3 Thanksgiving Day loss to NFC West rival Seattle. If Harbaugh can guide the team back to the postseason and win, San Francisco would offer him a contract extension, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
However, if the 49ers fail to make the playoffs, there is a possibility San Francisco would explore the option of trading him. The report linked both the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets as parties interested in acquiring Harbaugh via a trade.
Harbaugh has one year left on his contract after this season, and he’s paid roughly $5 million per season.
Since joining the team in 2011, Harbaugh has taken San Francisco to three consecutive NFC Championship games and nearly won a Super Bowl. But Harbaugh’s reportedly difficult relationship with 49ers general manager Trent Baalke, a perceived power struggle both have denied exists, could be the source of his discontent with the organization.
This is not the first time Harbaugh has been at the center of trade discussions. In February, San Francisco nearly traded Harbaugh to the Cleveland Browns for two third-round draft picks, according to ProFootballTalk.
The Raiders named Tony Sparano interim coach after firing Dennis Allen in September, but the change failed to change the losing culture on the field. Oakland won its first game of the season under Sparano last week against Kansas City, after losing 10 straight to start the year.
Should the Raiders acquire Harbaugh, he would be their fifth full-time head coach in the last seven years.
The Jets went to two straight AFC title games in the first two years under current head coach Rex Ryan, but have failed to the make playoffs since. New York has a 2-9 record this season, after suffering an eight-game losing streak in the middle of the season.
What either team would give up for Harbaugh is unclear, but how much they give up might determine the amount of time he’s given to turn their respective fortunes around.