ESPN suggest talks reached a ‘serious level’ on deal for Harbaugh.
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh still faces an uncertain future despite dismissing speculation that he could be traded to the Cleveland Browns.
According to league sources, the 49ers nearly completed a trade that would have sent their coach to Cleveland in return for multiple draft picks, but ultimately Harbaugh decided that he didn’t want to leave San Francisco.
Both the 49ers and Harbaugh dismissed the reports on Friday, as franchise CEO Jed York said in a tweet to the NFL Network and Pro Football Talk: “Is this on the record? Report isn’t true.”
Meanwhile, Harbaugh later told ESPN via text: “I echo Jed York’s comment…’isn’t true’. I know nothing about a trade with the Cleveland Browns and us, involving me.”
With all parties intent on dismissing the rumours, the Browns also released a statement which insisted that they were confident head coach Mike Pettine will lead the franchise toward an exciting future.
Nevertheless, it hasn’t completely quashed the uncertainty over Harbaugh’s future with the 49ers, as there are reportedly issues over his contract as the franchise are not prepared to pay their coach “like a Super Bowl-winning coach” when he has yet to win one.
It is understood that the 49ers are offering a short-term deal with lower guarantees with incentives that would bump Harbaugh up into the top tier of paid coaches if he wins a Super Bowl, according to Pro Football Talk.
Harbaugh has coached San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game for three years in a row, making only one trip to the Super Bowl where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens.