Forbes put together a rundown of what coaches in each sport made, and according to their numbers, Jim Harbaugh's $5 million per year salary ranks him third in the NFC West. Pete Carroll is locked in at $7 million per season, Ken Whisenhunt at $5.75 million per season and Steve Spagnuolo is at $3 million per season. Carroll's salary ranks third among all NFL head coaches behind Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan. Whisenhunt ranks fifth and Harbaugh is tied for seventh with Mike Tomlin. It's worth noting that Whisenhunt's current salary is courtesy of a contract extension following two division titles and a Super Bowl appearance.
I suppose it's not all that surprising that Carroll ended up with a $2 million more per year than Harbaugh. I'd imagine the differences in salary are primarily due to Carroll's long level of sustained success at USC as compared to Harbaugh at Stanford. I had considered the argument that Paul Allen brings deeper pockets, but I don't think that is quite as big an issue in this case. After all, the 49ers found themselves in a bit of a bidding war during the insanity that was the Harbaughcolypse.
For those wondering, Mike Nolan had a five year contract that paid him $1.7 million per year. Inflation has brought coaching salaries up, but it's clear that the 49ers were willing to pony up serious money to make the Harbaugh deal happen. Now we just get to wait and see how it pays out for the 49ers. One thing I'll need to figure out is how a lockout impacts coaching contracts. If the 2011 season is wiped out, do the 49ers basically lose that year of Harbaugh's coaching services?