San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York has publicly denied the most bizarre rumor you will hear during the NFL offseason — that the Niners nearly traded head coach Jim Harbaugh to the Cleveland Browns for draft picks. Assuming the initial report had to come from somewhere, you have to wonder what is going on behind closed doors within the Niners’ organization.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam confirmed that a trade for Harbaugh was discussed. The 49ers have enjoyed nothing but success since Harbaugh took over, so why all the alleged hostility? According to CBSSport.com’s Jason La Canfora, Harbaugh’s relationship with the team’s front office is deteriorating.
More specifically, La Canfora reports that Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke are “barely speaking” and that the organization may eventually have to choose between the two. Harbaugh has also supposedly had issues with team president Paraag Marathe. La Canfora believes the tension between Harbaugh and the Niners’ brass is the main reason he has not gotten a contract extension. He has two years left on his current deal.
Other teams could try to explore trade possibilities with the 49ers if it appears certain that Harbaugh is not going to be with the team beyond his current deal in 2015. On the surface, it would appear that the former Stanford coach has been a perfect fit in San Francisco. Perhaps his personality, which can be overbearing at times, has created an uncomfortable situation that the public is just now hearing about.