We’ve seen plenty of reports that suggest that 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is on his way out the door. Of course, the 51-year-old is still under contract, but it seems like the organization would be happiest trading Harbaugh for some future assets. The 49ers would certainly get something useful for the former AP Coach of the Year, but what could they reasonably expect to get in return?
Daniel Brown of InsideBayArea.com looked back at some of the previous coach trades in NFL history, and the compensation has hardly been consistent. Since 1997, six coaches have been traded for a variety of different picks:
- Herm Edwards; Jets received a fourth-round pick from Chiefs
- Jon Gruden; Raiders received two first-rounders, two-second rounders, and $8MM from Buccaneers
- Dick Vermeil; Rams received a second-round pick, third-round pick, and $500K from Chiefs
- Marty Schottenheimer; Chiefs received two third-rounders from Washington
- Bill Belichick; Jets received a first-round pick and opportunity to swap picks from Patriots
- Bill Parcells; Patriots received first-rounder, second-rounder and fourth-rounder from Jets
There appears to be three tiers of compensation for these trades: multiple first-rounders, a first-rounder and mid-round picks, and a collection of mid-round picks. The various trade packages depended on much more than the coach’s resume, but it’s interesting to compare Harbaugh’s credentials to those before him.
Half of the coaches were given away for middle-round picks, including Schottenheimer, who had compiled a .635 winning percentage in Kansas City, and Vermeil, who had won a Super Bowl only two years prior. Parcells had previously won a pair of championships when he was traded for a first-round pick, but Belichick had only put together a 36-44 when he was swapped for a first-rounder.
The real king’s ransom was the package that the Raiders received from the Buccaneers, which got them a pair of first-rounders and a pair of second-rounders. At the time, Gruden had a 38-26 record and two playoff appearances. Meanwhile, Harbaugh has a 43-19-1 regular season record, and he’s already coached his team to a Super Bowl and two NFC Championship appearances.
There’s a chance that the 49ers could end up with no compensation for their head coach. The team could ultimately decide to relieve Harbaugh of his duties, and such a move would likely precede the head coach moving to the NCAA. There’s also a chance that the two sides could improve their relationship and Harbaugh decides to stick around.
What do you think the 49ers could expect to get back for Harbaugh? Vote in the poll below, and feel free to discuss potential packages in the comment section.