Although the 49ers remain in the NFC playoff picture, speculation as to where current head coach Jim Harbaugh will land in 2015 has been swirling for some time. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports provides an updated look at the teams that have been linked most closely with Harbaugh and their chances of landing the coveted sideline general:
- The Raiders, of course, are currently seen as the most likely contender for Harbaugh’s services. La Canfora points out that while the 49ers would prefer to keep Harbaugh out of the same media market, trading him out of the NFC is a bigger priority, and Oakland could offer the best return. It is also worth noting that the Raiders were involved in the league’s last head coaching trade, when they sent Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay (incidentally, Gruden, who has been linked to Oakland’s impending head coaching vacancy, is expected to remain an ESPN commentator for the foreseeable future).
- The Dolphins are in the think of the AFC playoff race, but owner Stephen Ross‘ desire to have Harbaugh on his team’s sidelines has long been public knowledge. La Canfora notes that Ross is desperate “for a face-of-the-franchise to attract fan support” and “for a coach he can sell and try to add value to his franchise as he seeks a move to Los Angeles.” Citing unnamed sources, La Canfora writes that Ross’ desire for Harbaugh “cannot be understated.”
- We learned last week that the Jets could be in the mix for Harbaugh, and while such a move would necessarily entail GM Jon Idzik‘s departure, Idzik looks to be on the outs in New York anyway.
- Although Harbaugh is a logical candidate for the University of Michigan head coaching position, Harbaugh is reportedly not interested in that job. La Canfora writes that Harbaugh’s family has ties with outgoing Wolverines coach Brady Hoke and that Harbaugh is more interested in NFL opportunities.