As a head coach for the San Francisco 49ers, Jim Harbaugh has a 43-16-1 record in three plus seasons. He led the Niners to three straight NFC Title game appearances, including an NFC Championship victory in 2012, and he holds a 5-3 record in the playoffs.
He also has a poor reputation when dealing with the front office, but that mostly stems from his desire to re-work his contract that pays him $5 million a season. There are 10 coaches that make more than he does, including his brother John who makes $7 million annually. Before this season began, Jim Harbaugh expressed a desire to get his deal up in the $7 million plus range and the 49ers balked.
Jay Glazer of FOX Sports has been reporting since week 1 that nothing would keep Harbaugh employed by the 49ers, not even a Super Bowl run. Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that a 4-0 run to close out the regular season along with some post season success, just might get the two sides back to the negotiating table to work on an extension.
If an extension doesn't happen, the 49ers will no doubt look to trade their head coach. The Oakland Raiders make the most sense for him and his family. Sticking around the Bay area after coaching in Stanford and then San Francisco seems like a logical choice, but then again we are talking about the Raiders here. Money could be the deciding factor, but turning around a team that hasn't had a winning season since 2002 may be too much.
Then again the ultra-competitive Harbaugh may want such a challenge. The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, as well as the University Of Michigan all figure to be in play, but shouldn't the Chicago Bears at least inquire to what it would take to pry Harbaugh away?
Schefter reports that Harbaugh prefers to remain in the NFL, so what would it take for the Bears to leap to the top of his wish list?
When Harbaugh made the jump from Stanford to San Francisco, he accepted a 5 year, $25 million deal to do so. He's expecting at least $7 million per year from him new employer, so a bidding war isn't out of the question if each team meets the Niners' draft compensation.
San Francisco would want at the very least a #1 draft pick, then if multiple teams agrees to that, it'll come down to which team will give him the best contract.
The Chicago Bears are paying Marc Trestman $4,250,000 per year through 2016, so firing him this off season would cost the Bears $9 million, in addition to how ever much is tied up with all of his assistant coaches. If the Bears make a coaching change, there's no way they'll put any staff restrictions on the new guy again.
If Jim Harbaugh is hired he'll want full hiring/firing power over his staff, and with his track record, he deserves it.
Harbaugh may make sense on a lot of levels for the Bears, but when it comes to money, it may not. The Bears have never hired a high profile head coach with experience before and the only time they hired a coach with previous NFL head coaching experience was when they hired Paddy Driscoll in 1956. Driscoll was a player/coach for the Chicago Cardinals from 1920-1922, so even with him the franchise didn't exactly grab a guy with recent credentials.
I can't imagine Harbaugh accepts anything less than a five year deal, so we're looking at a contract in the ballpark of 5 years for $35 million just to get the talks started. It might take making Harbaugh the highest paid coach in the NFL to get his name on the dotted line, so now we're up in the $8 million per season territory.
The Chicago Bears may need to commit around $50 million to a coaching change and with their track record, that may be too much.
Do you think the Bears should look into acquiring Jim Harbaugh after the 2014 season?