Another thing about Harbaugh’s contract

To those of you who say the 49ers should just pay Jim Harbaugh because of what he has done the past three seasons compared to how inept the club was with previous head coaches:

You also should realize that Harbaugh and his agent had an opportunity when negotiating the initial contract to build escalators into the deal — pay Harbaugh more money if he achieved various landmarks during the first-three years of a five-year guaranteed contract.

College coaches and their agents do that all of the time. John Fox had a clause for a $1M bonus if his Broncos had won the Super Bowl vs. the Seahawks.

If Harbaugh had escalators and had achieved them, he already could have resolved this issue. If he wants more control over personnel, the roster and free agency, that is another issue.

Remember, nobody forced Harbaugh and his agent to agree to the contract.

Now, Harbaugh has to live with it.

One more point: If Harbaugh had not produced these results during the first three years, would he be asking for more money?

By the same token, with poor results the Yorks would not have asked Harbaugh to negotiate down his contract to a lesser value because of his under achieving.

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  1. gobble, gobble, gobble
    twirl, twirl, twirl.
    Note to Coach Harbaw:
    the one and only way in which you can escape
    all the heckling from the Super Bowl monkey
    is by bringing home Lombardi trophy #6.

    Note to Mr. York: Keep the man hungry;
    withhold any extension talks until you see
    a piece of gleaming hardware in his hand.

    1. I like your thought provoking Grant. I only disagree in the assertion that Pete Carol, and I’m a huge fan of his energy and enthusiasm, is a good head coach. I think Pete Carol is a great assessment of talent. I think he’s a mediocre coach.
      A number of times he had the ball inside the 5 yard line and passed 4 straight times instead of handing it off to his running back.
      A 13 year old playing madden would have beaten Denver. NFL is fixed seems more and more likely. Seattle lays down in week 16 to make all week 17 games relevant. A lot of no calls in the 49er championship game. Come On. The fix is on.

  2. The body of your article has nothing to do with it’s topic sentance. What does his contract negotiation have to do with those of use that think the team will nosedive if he leaves?

  3. I expect the Niners will sign Harbaugh after the draft. He is still under paid but you can argue, he is not the best coach in the division, or the best head coach in his family.

  4. I’m not sure where you’re coming from with this post, Grant. Sounds like you’re saying he has a crappy contract. Ok. Maybe he does. What does that have to do with the 49ers trading Harbaugh. Re-sign the man. He has earned a new contract based on the success he’s brought to the organization.

    1. So far everyone on this site and other sites seem to think if you don’t “give him what he wants” the 49ers will slip back into oblivion.

  5. At the time he signed the deal it was a good contract, which is why he signed it. The problem is he has produced great results that usually lead to an extension with a hefty raise. The issue is not whether he should get an extension or a raise; the team agrees and is willing to do that. The question is how much should he get? Considering a HC in his own division who has achieved less in a much longer period of time is making 7 mill per, that should be the starting point. Pete Carroll is making 7 mill a year on a contract that was signed before he won a SB. When he signed that deal he hadn’t had the record of NFL success that Harbaugh has now achieved. Carroll was being paid on his College success and now that he’s won a SB, you can expect him to get a new extension in the not too distant future that will put him at 9-10 mill per season. So realistically, Harbaugh asking for 8 per year is really not out of line for what he’s accomplished. Like player salaries, Coaching salaries continue to climb as well.

    1. rocket:

      What’s interesting to me is that there is no cap on coaching salaries, and yet head coaches make much less than QBs and less than several other positions. Given the effect that coaching has on wins and losses (see Harbaugh v. Singletary), you would think that head coaches would make more than they do.

      1. It is a head scratcher Claude, especially when you consider the amount of work and stress these guys deal with. Like you and old coach pointed out, the Coaches salary has no effect on the salary cap so I would think if you find a good one you should pay him in line with what he deserves without putting conditions on it.

        The bigger issue is that there appears to be more to this than money.

        1. That’s what really worries me, Rocket. If the 49ers and JH can reach an agreement on an extension, Baalke is still going to be in the building.

          Unless there’s a sea change in JH’s and TB’s relationship, I just can’t see them coexisting for long.

    2. I really don’t like Carroll, but having said that, he HAS accomplished more than Harbaugh he has won a Championship! Harbaugh has a contract at least get to lame duck status (1 year remaining) before asking for another. He is starting to come off like Eric Dickerson (who asked for contracts every 2 years-3 contracts within a 6 year period).

      1. Carrol has been in the business longer than Harbaugh and Seattles front office is the best Carrol has ever been associated with. Carrol is a decent defensive coordinator but is fortunate to have the superb surrounding cast supporting him and a very very wealthy owner who can pay for these people. I am a long time 49er fan and although Harbaugh is better than Singletary or Nolan I have a bad feeling the 49ers may be just like their head coach….always one pass or one yard short of taking it all. Harbaugh is a good coach but he ain’t Bill Walsh. Harbaugh has a few lose wires in his head……he is wound a little to tight and needs to chill out and that cost him and the team.

  6. Grant you are neither a fan or an employee of the 49ers so why does it concern you at all how much Harbaugh makes or how his contract was negotiated? How much a player makes effects the salary cap and who the team can sign or not sign that makes his salary a “sports” story. How much Harbaugh makes is no more a sports story than how much you and you’re Dad make.

    1. Coach

      JH walked into a job with stars at every position. In ’11 his team made it TO the NFCC game before losing it; in ’12 his team made it TO the SB before losing; in ’13 his team again made it TO the NFCC game before losing it. I think that what Grant is saying is that he hasn’t been able to ‘finish the deal’ despite having 3 opportunities to do it. Why renegotiate his contract when he has two years remaining on it…who knows if he’ll ever get beyond 2nd or 3rd place in a game that only pays 1st?

        1. Oh and on Defense.
          Only 5 starters from 2010 were full time starters in 2011 with 3 out 4 new starters in the defensive backfield. I understand their was really great players on the roster but …Stars at every position?

      1. Oregonniner I would renegotiate his contract because i believe he falls into that very small category of consistent HC winners at the NFL level and if we do’nt resign him there is a very strong chance we will end up with another run of bad HC’s. Starting with Tomsula i love the guy and he is without a doubt a great D line coach but there is no reason to believe that he can be a consistent winner in the NFL. Do’nt get me wrong he may be wonderful but there is no guarentee and we have a guarentee already in place

      2. If Harbaugh had success with “STARS” at every position why couldn’t all the other coaches do it? He got the job done. Give him control of player personnel and meet in the middle on money. It’s starting to seem more like Baalke’s fault that we struggle with the Seahawks. I’m sure Harbaugh can correct that

  7. Grant, reading your last paragraph, it sounds like you’re suggesting that York & Baalke are asking Harbaugh to take LESS money because he’s UNDER-ACHIEVING… Is that what you’re suggesting?

  8. Grant, so when you took 1st place for Blog/Commentary in the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club contest, you didn’t consider for even a moment that you deserved a bump in salary even though it is not the top prize in sports journalism?

  9. Everyone talks about the 49ers roster. OL one of the best, TE one of best, Boldin, Crabtree, Gore & a great young future QB. My questions are: 31st in passing, one of the worst in red zone, struggles to get first down. Why!!!
    Picture Harbagh on the side lines, playoffs, everything on the line. What is Harbaugh doing, jumping, yelling at the refs. Most likely the worst game managing HC in the NFC West.
    Gore, 30+, gets about 70% to 80% of the carries in 2013. In Championship game has 16 yards on 11 carries. I guess he is the only RB on the team.
    Kaepernick has a cannon for a arm, however you need a hour glass to time the receivers. So much for the QB strengths.

    1. Gore is slow he should never get 20 carries at 30 plus years old when we have 2 young stud rbs wasting their prime on the bench. The only reason why Gore got 1k because of the offensive line. Hunter needs to get 300 carries in a season he never gets a chance because of old man Gore taking all the snaps. People forget how important James was in playoffs last year we missed that ec

    2. Gore is slow he should never get 20 carries at 30 plus years old when we have 2 young stud rbs wasting their prime on the bench. The only reason why Gore got 1k because of the offensive line. Hunter needs to get 300 carries in a season he never gets a chance because of old man Gore taking all the snaps. People forget how important James was in playoffs last year we missed that explosive young burst at rb. Ladanian got released at age 29 everyone knows rbs best years are first 5 years in league yet Harbaugh leaves our young talent on sidelines for an old slow aging rb. Makes no sense. Pete Carroll would of went with the young guns and cut old man Gore. We will probably keep Gore for another few years until hes 35 I wouldn’t be surprised.

  10. What is the point in this follow-up other than you trying to save face? Well, at least you didn’t have an obvious lie in it like your previous article.

  11. Grant, I appreciate that, after writing a column based on fallacious arguments, you are looking to make a point based on stronger logic. Unfortunately, the one you choose is irrelevant.

    As rocket pointed out, Carroll’s current contract isn’t based on him winning the Superbowl this year, and Jed York hasn’t ever maintained that Harbough shouldn’t get a bigger contract.

    Neither you or Lowell have ever indicated why your gut feelings about the Browns approach seem to ignore the public information about when things happened. You’ve both been ask directly and have both ignored those questions.

  12. Yeah, and your point is? You need to get real, that is not what they did and now we must deal with it.. What is your alternative and are you sure you want to take it. Super Bowls are won by teams whose coach and GM has put them in position to have the chance?

    Belichick hasn’t won a Super Bowl in 10 years – but that doesn’t make him any less of a great coach. His team is competitive every year – that is what makes him a great coach. So are Harbaughs teams wherever he has coached.

    For a sports writer you would think that you should at least have a working knowledge of the subject you are writing about. So tell me your alternative, who should the 49ers bring in to replace Harbaugh? Then we can have a real discussion. This is fantasy upon fantasy.

    1. Dennis very strong point. We would all love to clebrate a SB victory but thats just one day. I watch NFL football for 20 weeks of entertainment so there is something to be said for a consistent winner because i remember what it was like rooting for a cosistent loser

    2. Dennis, that is a point that for some reason gets lost on many. Once you get to the playoffs the ‘lose and you’re out’ nature of it makes it a difficult setting to win it all. Good but not great teams can hit a purple vein of form and go all the way, like the Ravens did in the 2012 season, or the Giants did the year before.

      Great teams are the ones that consistently put themselves in the mix and give themselves a chance. Harbaugh has shown he is good at getting his team there, and good at getting his team to perform in sudden death games (5-3 playoff record). He hasn’t won the big dance yet, but its a matter of time before he does.

        1. Apples and oranges Grant Coaching basketball is far easier than coaching football and that is coming from a 30 yr varsity basketball coach. You just ca’nt compare the 2 sports as far as coaching is concerned

        2. Grant, do you rate Bill Cowher as a coach? I sure do. I think he is one of the better coaches ever to grace the NFL, as do many people which is why his name keeps coming up when there are coaching vacancies despite him not showing any inclination to get back into it. A 161-99-1 overall record speaks for itself, as does making the playoffs 10 times in 14 seasons and going to 6 AFC championships in that time (with a 2-4 record).

          Despite that, in 14 years of head coaching he won the SB just once, and that was in his 14th season.

          1. Scooter
            Now that you bring him up, Could BC be the 9ers next coach after JH? Every year his name is floated for the 6-8 vacancies and he denies interest (i dont think he even interviewed). But i think one of the main reason that he doesnt give up the cushy tv gig is that all the openings are terrible. The reason a job becomes open is that the previous coach sucks and the team is most likely a disaster. If a superbowl ready team with a loaded roster and a young QB comes calling maybe one of the better coaches who is currently not coaching would jump at the chance. Cowhers coaching philosophy would fit our roster construction

      1. Scooter, Bill Walsh couldn’t have stated it better — and in fact he did in the book about him, “The Genious.” It’s about building a team that is consistantly in contention to make the playoffs that in turn give you a shot at the SB.

    3. They are competitive b/c they are in a weak div. Eliminate the Rams (who will be good this year) and add the Patriots and what do you have.?

  13. Didn’t York and Harbaugh start negotiating an extension this last off season?

    “By the same token, with poor results the Yorks would not have asked Harbaugh to negotiate down his contract to a lesser value because of his under achieving.”

    If a coach was under achieving wouldn’t an NFL owner just fire them?

    But who knows… We are talking about an NFL team getting rid of a coach who has over achieved.

  14. The NFL is a results orientated business when it comes to coaching. Jim Harbaugh has exceeded the expectations of when he took over. He took a talented roster and coached them over the hurdle Nolan and Singletary couldn’t. Could anyone else done it, no because York believed JH could, and he did. They are that close because of him, not Kaepernick, not the defense but all of it and it’s moving parts.
    Does anyone realize how hard it is to get a team to a SB and then the next year back to a championship game?
    Escalators or not, continuity and results is what the Niners should base their next coaching decision on.

  15. If Harbaugh just wants money, pay him. Jed York has publicly said he wants to keep Jim Harbaugh, and if money is the issue then I find it hard to believe something won’t get done.

    People bringing up the comparisons to Mooch and what happened need to keep in mind that Jed York isn’t his parents. He’s more Eddie D, and it would seem out of character to let a top coach go over money. Since he has already said he wants to keep Jim, and according to Jed he nixed the trade discussions pretty much straight away, I find it hard to believe that Jed is particularly concerned about having to deal with Jim’s mercurial personality, or how he gets on with Baalke either.

    The real question is “what else does Jim want?”.

  16. Im a huge Harbaugh fan and I will love my 9ers till Im in a pine box wake up float to heaven and throw my Patrick Willis jersey on as I walk through the gates….. now with that said my point on the Harbaugh contract is this. You cant say you are in the hall of fame until you put on that gold jacket…… you cant say you have a super bowl until you slide that ring on and hold the trophy….You cant be the highest paid coach without reaching the highest goal in the NFL and thats winning a national championship. Here are some things to consider:
    Mike Mccarthy: 5 mill a year and has a ring and has made it to the playoffs every year

    Mike Tomlin 5.75 annual salary one SB ring and has been a HC for 7 years

    Tony Dungy (when with the colts annual salary was 5 mill and he made the playoffs every year and has a ring

    Tom Couglin I belive signed a 3 year 20 mill contract but if you do the math thats about 6.7 mill a year but then again you are talking about 2 SB rings and years of HC experience.

    I think Coach needs to realize he has it pretty good right now and when he gets his ring itll be that much sweeter.

    1. DMV9erfan

      “You cant be the highest paid coach without reaching the highest goal in the NFL and thats winning a national championship.”

      Yes you can. And it will be Harbaugh. He doesn’t need to win the big one just to prove he is a winner. You are absolutely kidding yourself if you don’t think half the teams in the NFL would gladly make him the highest paid coach in the league – right now! People around here are taking his abilities for granted. He is one of the best coaches in the league and he should be and ultimately will be paid accordingly.

    2. Personally, I think he’s close to being out the door. Someone mentioned he’d never been at a job more than 4 years and that’s true. That unpaid asst. job was longer but think it was for his father & not full time. Anyway think he’s hard to work with & wears out his welcome. And now these leaks @ Texas and Cleveland.

  17. Harbaugh is what he is – a freaky, cantankerous, volatile, and talented guy, probably honed by steel a bit too much as a kid, and a guy who would probably leave his liver on the field if it meant winning the game. If you were stuck with him in an elevator for 6 hours with a sixpack, you’d either come out as friends for life or bloodied up pretty good. He is what he is (my favorite tautology – works for practically everything). He’s not Bill Walsh – Bill Walsh was Zeus in the pantheon of football gods. But I can’t look at taking a 6-10 team and taking it to 3 straight NFC playoff games and do anything other than stand up and clap. We’re likely only going to have him for 1 more year, but if we can resign him for another 2-4 we should. We have a talented team – but not necessarily the kind of loaded-with-Hall of Famers team we had in 81- 89 tho – and i’m loathe to take a chance on yet another guy who has never taken a team from 6-10 to the SB. The world is full of the mediocre, the maybes, the looks-good-on-paper. Great things, when they come to you in life, don’t always last forever. Let’s enjoy this Niner era while we have it and not shoo it out the door prematurely. One man’s opinion. Go Niners.

        1. Nolan doesn’t get much credit, but it was his vision for a big, tough 49ers that set the path in terms of what type of players McCloughan and Baalke look for.

          1. Baalke comes from the Parcells tree so not sure how much if any credit should go to Nolan for the type of players he is looking for.

          2. The head coach may not pick the players, but they tell the GM what sort of players they are after and it is up to the GM to get those type of players. Doing anything else is irresponsible, and to be honest could be part of the where the issue between Baalke and Harbaugh stems.

      1. Grant, what was your dads reaction to Nolan’s “smell in the building” comments? That was the first red flag for me with regards to Nolan.

    1. Jack

      Thank you for the work on the ’10 and ’13 rosters. I have been peeled several times for defending Nolan and McCloughan as the building of the 49er current team. I have seen the same people criticize Nolan for being a ‘bad’ head coach…and I would argue that he was a GOOD HC in that he kept hiring OC’s that were so good, that other teams stole them for Head coachs.

      1. No problem Oregon. McCloughan did some good work, those that still remain from his time in SF have been the pillars from which Baalke has built upon. He definitely deserves some credit for the success of the team in recent years, but not at the expense of Baalke or vice versa.

  18. By this logic, nobody should ever attempt to renegotiate a contract until it expires, and that’s not practical in sports.

    Moreover, it sounds to me that Harbaugh is seeking more money and (possibly) control when his current deal expires. That has nothing to do with escalators that weren’t included in his current deal. His current deal is and will remain in place. The discussions now surround an extension–and he’s trying to get the best deal he can. Something nobody can blame him for.

  19. Im not saying he isnt one of the best coaches I think he is. My point is all of those coaches who make the money that he wants all have something in common a ring. Even Jed said im hoping he has the proper leverage to be the highest paid coach. Look at how long it took his brother his brother got a nice bump after he got the hardware.

  20. Time to let it go Grant. Find some sports to write about. We are tired of the continuing media hype on this BS. Thanks

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