We move on to day 2 of Harbaugh watch, and some more interesting news is coming out from the various beat reporters that cover the 49ers.
Matt Maiocco is reporting that the 49ers and Harbaugh had a deal in place, but Harbaugfh said he would listen to the Dolphins out of respect.
It sounds like Harbaugh's window dressing for a pretty good negotiating tactic. He's trying to get the most out of any suitor, but at the very least I hope the 49ers are a legit contender and not just some pawn in the larger Harbaugh-to-the-NFL circus.
Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) also reports some REALLY interesting information.
- The 49ers made the "classic mistake" of showing all their cards early.
- 7 million seems to be the number Harbaugh wants. Pete Carroll makes about 6.5 million per year.
- Harbaugh apparently gave the 49ers a list of GM candidates he liked and York instead went with Baalke. From the sound of it, Baalke was not on the Harbaugh list.
- It was this move, according to Breer, that made the 49ers just like any other franchise since they would not have a Harbaugh approved personnel guy. At this point it's a business decision (read, it's all about the money).
9:50 am: Here is what I don't understand: Is Jim Harbaugh any worse of a head coach if you pay him more money? If Jed York thinks Harbaugh is the answer, and he does since CLEARLY it's not the front office, then is 7 million too much to pay?
Harbaugh's coaching effectiveness is not going to change, regardless of how much you pay him. So when Peter King says something like "I loved Harbaugh at 4.5 million, but not 6.5 million" it makes no sense to me.
That being said, Jason LaCanfora reports that the deal for Harbaugh is above 8 million a year. I still think that if Harbaugh is the guy you want because you think he is a Super Bowl winning kind of guy you pay the man. If you think he's a really good head coach but not really head and shoulders above the rest then I might begin to understand the decision.
10:11 am: I've go to head off to my real job, but some final thoughts before I pick this up again tonight:
• If Jed York thinks Jim Harbaugh is the best coach we could get then he should pay the man whatever he wants. If he thinks Harbaugh is just another candidate in a field of well-qualified candidates then let him walk.
• The Rooney rule is a joke. Commissioner Roger Goodell is on record as saying the next team that violates the rule (the Lions did it in 2003) will be fined $500,000. When a team is preparing to pay its new head coach 8 million per year, 500K is just the refueling fee on your private jet. 500K is just 6.25% of the first year's worth alone and 1.25% of a 5 year deal.
• Other options for the 49ers? Not Josh McDaniels (THANK GOD). But this does raise the question whether we can get any high profile candidates to 4949 Centennial with the front office the way it is.
• The only constant since 2003, when the 49ers began their descent into the NFL basement, is the ownership.
3:55 pm: Reports are starting to trickle out that Harbaugh to Miami is a done deal. Technically Harbaugh to Miami can't be a done deal until Steven Ross interviews a minority candidate, it seems a foregone conclusion that he will go to the Dolphins, but the 49ers are still in this, as long as they choose to be.
Mindy Bach reported on her Twitter page (http://twitter.com/MBachCSN) that Steven Ross left the Bay Area and nothing about a deal has been leaked. We know numbers, but due to the Rooney rule (or what's left of it) Ross can't even make an offer without interviewing minority coaches.
Chris Mortenson is reporting that Harbaugh to Miami is 50-50 and that the 49ers are still in play. The 49ers still have a chance to make a play, but I think they don't want to be part of this game anymore.
I think that there is still some fall out to this, and based on when Sparano is fired and a minoritu candidate is interviewed, we may have to wait until tomorrow until an announcement.
That being said, I think the 49ers should strongly consider plan B. I'll ignore McDaniels as plan B based on the fact that it's the dumbest idea Jed/Baalke have had since thinking they could have the hottest coaching prospect for 4.5 million a year.
I'm really warming to one of the two M's as the head coach. No, not Matt (Maiocco) or Matt (Barrows). I'm talking about Mike Mularkey and Marty Mornhigweg.
I'll let that settle for a little bit.
I know, I know. The best argument against these guys is their failed stints in Buffalo and Detroit respectively. But let's put things in perspective. What do the 49ers need/want from a head coach?
1. Offensive innovation with a strong background in X's and O's.
2. Previous success as an OC
3. Knows what a winning franchise looks and acts like
4. BONUS: Ties to Bill Walsh and the West Coast Offense.
Mornhinweg fits this to a "T." Mularkey - I've got to do some more digging.
I'll have more about these coaches later. In the meantime, let's take just a moment to grieve over the loss of Jim Harbaugh... Alright. Over it. Now bring me someone who wants to be the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
9:06 pm: So, after all of the ups and downs it looks like we're back to (almost) where we started.
Andrew Luck announced he is staying at Stanford, and Stanford increased its efforts to retain Harbaugh in a meeting this afternoon. The Dolphins announced they are keeping Tony Sparano. Oh, and Denver's new football executive John Elway is trying to get some more face time with Harbaugh. A quote to note from Elway: "I don't believe anybody that's not had that NFL experience can make that jump -- other than Harbaugh."
What does it all MEAN!?
Well, it looks like the 49ers are back in the Harbaugh sweepstakes. And maybe, just maybe, it really is more than just money for Harbaugh; that has to bode well for the 49ers. According to Tim Kawakami (who has been a treasure trove of info thus far) the 49ers are not likely to raise their figure much higher than 5 million. And if Harbaugh eventually signs for something around that it would be a mild coup for this franchise.
If it is about more than money, though, the allure of a national championship with Luck at the helm would only improve Harbaugh's stock even higher than it is now, if that's even possible. And if the NFL labor situation is worked out by then it may be a little added incentive for Harbaugh to wait a little.
Either way, it's another day of waiting as Harbaugh weighs his options.
9:25 pm: Jay Glazer just tweeted that the 49ers are in serious discussions with Harbaugh tonight in the hope of getting a deal done. The deal would reportedly be over 6 million per year.
If this deal is done, every potential head coach in going to want to retain Jack Bechta as their agent. He's played this extremely well, taking a reported initial offer of 4.5 million to over 6 million. And if it's below Carroll's deal both sides can say they "won."
And here I thought I was going to go off on Plan B, lol.
9:42 pm: Looking at Jay Glazer's twitter feed is pretty funny. I'm just imagining a phone in each of Jay's hands, hearing conflicting reports from all sides. If he had hair, I'm sure he'd pull it out.
Maiocco is also reporting that his source is saying he "keeps hearing Stanford."
Either way - this is now going on to Harbaugh watch, day 3.