Raiders, Jets To Pursue Jim Harbaugh?

The Raiders have long been viewed as a likely landing sport for current 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, assuming Harbaugh and San Francisco part ways as expected after the 2014 season. ESPN’s Adam Schefter, citing an NFL source, lent some credence to that theory this morning, tweeting that the Raiders are the favorites to trade for Harbaugh.

In that same tweet, however, Schefter notes that the Jets are expected to keep a “close eye” on the Harbaugh situation. Although that report seems to be more speculation than anything else at this point, Rich Cimini of tweets that it is the first tacit acknowledgement that the Jets are prepared to fire Rex Ryan.

Interestingly enough, Schefter’s tweet comes on the heels of Cimini’s full-length piece published this morning that details the increasingly bizarre quarterback controversy in New York. Cimini writes that Ryan has insisted that his arm was not twisted by GM John Idzik to revert to Geno Smith as the team’s starting quarterback for tomorrow night’s game against Miami, but “not everyone is buying what he’s selling,” and “[t]here remains a level of skepticism within the organization as to whether Ryan actually made the decision.” That is especially true since Idzik’s job would probably only be saved with a strong showing from Smith, his hand-picked quarterback, over the last few games of the season.

Of course, there was little chance that Ryan would retain his job after 2014 even before this latest controversy, and Cimini’s article simply adds fuel to the fire. But Schefter’s report, even if it just means that the Jets are prepared to exercise due diligence on all head coaching candidates after the season, is interesting in that it represents not only the first time the Jets have outwardly expressed their desire to move on from Ryan, but the first time they have been connected with Harbaugh.

However, Matt Maiocco of writes that one sticking point in any possible trade is “Harbaugh’s unwillingness to go to a team that has to give up a draft pick in order to acquire his services.” As Maiocco tweets, “Why would [Harbaugh] let a team weaken itself and help [the] 49ers by giving up draft pick(s)?” He certainly has a point, and in acknowledging Harbaugh’s say in the matter, Maiocco has added a wrinkle to what promises to be one of the more intriguing storylines this offseason.

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