Earlier today, Jim Harbaugh met with the media, and the discussion turned to contracts and transactions. This eventually led to Tim Kawakami asking Harbaugh about his own contract status. As we quickly found out, Kawakami was putting something together, as he has since indicated he has been doing a little snooping about Harbaugh's contract status. According to Kawakami, the scuttlebutt is that the 49ers and Jim Harbaugh had some informal discussions this offseason about a contract extension.
I recommend giving the article a read, as it goes in several directions discussing Harbaugh's contract status. When Jim Harbaugh initially agreed to become the 49ers head coach, he signed a five year deal that was reportedly worth $25 million. He has completed two years of his deal, and things have probably gone better than most of us could have expected. We all wanted to see him turn the team around, but Harbaugh and Baalke have done a superb job the last two seasons.
Coaching contracts are always tough to figure out because we don't have a formal database like the NFLPA's player salary database. Furthermore there is rarely a public mention by the team or coach about how much is being paid. Rather, it is all anonymous team, league and agent sources. I'd imagine most of it is likely pretty close to accurate, but we can never know for certain.
According to Kawakami, Harbaugh ranks third in the NFC West in salary, with Jeff Fisher earning $7 million per year and Pete Carroll earning $6 million per year. Kawakami thinks a Super Bowl win could net a doubling of his salary, then the two sides might be more inclined to let it pay out.
Kawakami did make a couple mentions of Harbaugh not having a track record of longevity in positions. I'm not sure that is quite as applicable now, compared to previously. He worked for a couple years as an assistant with the Raiders, three years at the University of San Diego and four years at Stanford.
The first two jobs were very much stepping stones, and while Stanford did become a national power by the end of his tenure, it is not a traditional power school. It may one day develop into that kind of traditional powerhouse (maybe it's already there?), but it still seems like a stepping stone for bigger and better things.
Harbaugh won't stick in San Francisco forever, but I'm not sure his previous short stints would be indicative of a potential change when his contract expires after the 2015 season. And if he is able to get the 49ers to a Super Bowl and a perennial contender, is there anywhere else to go? What would be "better" than the 49ers job while they're on top of the NFL? I'm not asking as a 49ers fan. I'm asking as a general football fan. He had a chance to go back to his alma mater (Michigan), and chose the 49ers.
I suppose crazy money could make the difference, but with the 49ers moving into a new stadium, that means a whole lot of new revenue. If the 49ers end up prepared to double his current salary, wouldn't somebody have to go with seriously stupid, crazy money to woo him away?
What do you all think?