On Tuesday, an interesting piece was published by Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News. Kawakami continued the ongoing Jim Harbaugh contract narrative (thankfully without silly mention of Texas or a return to the college ranks, a proposition that holds little probability in my eyes), but added some unique insight.
Well, not all of it is unique, but there's some interesting theories at play. For something that's not unique, Kawakami talks about "competitive tension" between Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke. He believes that Harbaugh has been saying things in the media as a clear message to roster moves he wants to be carried out, which makes sense.
Harbaugh isn't the type to talk about such things so freely, yet he claimed Owen Marecic was coming to town, and suggested that kicker Phil Dawson be extended this offseason. "Pay the man," Harbaugh said, but as Kawakami asks -- to who? The answer is obviously Baalke, who holds the final say over the roster and has apparently been in disagreement with Harbaugh plenty of times.
Some of those disagreements come from the draft, some come from resigned or not-resigned players and some probably come from things that Harbaugh controls that Baalke does not -- such as gameday decisions. Whatever the case, this would not be the first and it will definitely not be the last case of two alpha dogs fighting over control in the NFL.
Such a scenario is not even a bad thing, really. As Kawkami notes, Bill Walsh had his moments with Eddie D. and John McVay, and Bill Parcells and George Young basically fought a war with the Super Bowl-winning New York Giants. It happens, and that's why balance is key. It's a situation that doesn't worry me at all.
But why is Harbaugh taking to the media? The unique and interesting aspect of Kawakami's post is that Harbaugh might be looking for more control when contract time rolls around. Jed York will sit down with Harbaugh yet again after this season, and Super Bowl victory or not, Harbaugh will be offered another extension.
Will that extension include more power? That's anybody's guess, but I imagine it's honestly not as big a deal as some might think. Harbaugh's apparent disagreements with Baalke have seemed minor to this point, but are probably enough for Harbaugh to at least want more say in things. Making statements to the media is tantamount to saying "this is the way I have to get things done."
It's obvious Harbaugh already has a lot of power. Baalke has the final say, but if Harbaugh wasn't happy with every player active on gameday, he probably wouldn't be here. But there's probably a little wiggle room in there, in my rather ignorant and uneducated-on-these-issues opinion. What say you, dear reader?
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