“We actually just had this conversation yesterday,” York said. “Lots of people were talking to him about it. We just said, 'You know what, let's not do anything during the season. Let's sit down a week or so after the season is over and let everybody know we're not focused on anything that's off the field right now.'
“Jim and I will sit down a week or so after the season is over and we'll figure out where we go.”
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Normally, this might not elicit much worry, except for all the (reported) drama that went on after last season with talk of the two sides being completely at odds and Harbaugh not being all that well liked in the organization.
Much of that talk later was quashed, and multiple sources told Shutdown Corner that the story was blown out of proportion during a slow news cycle following the NFL combine. Harbaugh declined to talk about his situation on the record back in March when approached at Northwestern's pro day, but he did not appear to be a man who was too concerned about his contract.
After all, Harbaugh always has bet on himself and won, which, interestingly, is what his quarterback — Colin Kaepernick — is doing with his fresh-inked contract that was signed a few months ago. So if both men perform well with one of the three or four best rosters in the NFL behind them, there shouldn't be too much concern ... unless Harbaugh believes his price should be even higher.
There is more NFL coaching drama behind the scenes than many people realize, and coaches who have won a lot of games such as Tom Coughlin, Lovie Smith and Marvin Lewis, among others, have stared into the abyss with their current teams (or former teams, in the case of Smith with the Chicago Bears) before settling amicably.
Still, there always are situations, such as Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders, where egos grow out of control both on the coaching and management sides of the equation and the two elements both reach a point of no return. That's what happened when Gruden was shipped off to Tampa in 2002.
The feeling is that things have settled down considerably — if they ever were even that testy to begin with — between Harbaugh and 49ers management, and there still remains a good chance that he remains the team's coach after this season.
Is there a risk in waiting? After all, there is no franchise tag for coaches, and several teams (and even a few high-powered college programs) have been sniffing around Harbaugh since he started turning the 49ers around in 2011.
But York reminded everyone of the facts: Harbaugh has two years remaining on a five-year, $25 million contract that was signed in '11, and though he has outgrown that deal with a 36-11-1 regular-season record and a streak of three straight appearances in the NFC title game, Harbaugh won't be going anywhere unless the 49ers allow him to leave.
“Well, Jim's here for the next two years under contract,” he said. “And like I've said publicly and very loudly in the past, I hope he has the utmost leverage when we sit down and talk about his contract at the end of the season.
“It's a good thing. It's an unbelievable problem to have.”
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