The reports and speculation continue to flow in as to what the future might hold for Jim Harbaugh once the 2014 NFL season comes to an end. There will be plenty more over the next week, but one report in particular brought up an interesting point.
According to FootballScoop.com, NFL sources have indicated the 49ers told Michigan that if they could reach a deal with Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers would release him from his contract and seek no compensation. Additionally, they said that if Harbaugh wanted to remain in the NFL, they would try and get a "king's ransom" in compensation for allowing him out of his contract.
The folks at FootballScoop.com are apparently pretty solid in terms of their sourcing for college specific stuff. In this article, there are a few things worth noting. The first and most notable is that this depends on what Jim Harbaugh decides he wants to do. As some have said, he is reportedly torn between the NFL and going back to college. Michigan could offer him serious money and a chance to return to his alma mater, but that still might not be enough to lure him back.
If Harbaugh and Michigan came to an agreement, you could argue it would allow the 49ers to save face to a certain extent. 49ers fans would not be pleased, but Jim Harbaugh would be out of the NFL, and not across the Bay to potentially embarrass the 49ers with a Lombardi Trophy before the 49ers win their own.
Of course, if the 49ers are more worried about that kind of embarrassment than just figuring out their coaching situation, I am a little concerned with that. If Jim Harbaugh found immense success in Oakland, it really would not matter so long as the 49ers found their own success, and got Lombardi No. 6. This is just one of many reports, but I would be concerned if how they potentially part ways with Harbaugh was impacted by how they "feel" about what he might or might not do with another NFL franchise.
There are already more than enough egos involved in this whole mess. Concerns over appearances just strike me as more of this ego nonsense. I've reached a point where I just want it all to come to an end. Every day there is something new to consider, but after next week, odds are pretty good we'll be able to move forward with something concrete.