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Jim Harbaugh And The Forbes Salary Guess-timation

The "big" story on a slow news day (well, prior to Jonathan Vilma's lawsuit against Roger Goodell) was the release of Forbes' list of the highest paid coaches in sports. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, earning an estimated $5 million per year on a five year deal, came in last among NFC West coaches, with newly minted Rams coach Jeff Fisher topping the division at $7 million. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is listed at the top of the list at $7.5 million per year.

The best/worst part of the Forbes list is the fact that nobody outside of the Patriots really knows what Bill Belichick actually makes as head coach. Forbes based it on some speculation from "pundits" and basically seemed to spit-ball it based off Mike Holmgren's contract. That is certainly some hard-hitting journalism!

Although Coach Harbaugh remains on the bottom rung of NFC West salaries, he is still among the top paid coaches in the NFL. His reported $5M salary is $500,000 back of the seventh highest paid NFL coach (tenth on Forbes' overall list). The 49ers ownership stepped up during the courtship of Jim Harbaugh and has hit the jackpot. He is only in year two of his five year deal, and remains one of the higher paid coaches in the NFL.

If Coach Harbaugh and the 49ers are able to build on year one and string together several successful seasons, it will be interesting to see how far north his salary goes.