Ravens, John Harbaugh Close On Extension

John Harbaugh‘s shift from lame-duck status back to long-term security with the Ravens is nearing completion. The Ravens and their longtime coach have an agreement in principle on an extension, Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

One year remains on Harbaugh’s current deal. This new agreement is not yet finalized, with CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora tweeting key issues remain unresolved. While an extension is expected to be completed, JLC notes it is not done. Although, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com describes the road left to go as procedural (Twitter link).

Talks Harbaugh was set to be fired preceded trade rumors surrounding Baltimore’s 11-season leader, but the Ravens turning their season around and winning their first AFC North title since 2012 helped Harbaugh re-establish himself. The parties began extension talks earlier this month. He will be in charge of the full Joe Flacco-to-Lamar Jackson transition.

The Broncos, Buccaneers and Dolphins were loosely linked to Harbaugh as trade suitors. Each either hired coaches or have identified a future HC. Harbaugh may well have been the top candidate on this year’s market had the Ravens allowed it. Baltimore’s transition from Ozzie Newsome, who hired Harbaugh in 2008, to Eric DeCosta will not feature a major sideline shakeup. The new GM evidently saw enough from the franchise’s winningest coach to begin his tenure tethered to him.

Harbaugh, 56, is 114-77 and ranks fifth in wins among active coaches. Three straight Ravens playoff absences — and a 40-40 record from 2013-17 — moved him close to the chopping block, but the switch to Jackson (and Baltimore’s defense returning to elite status) transformed a 4-5 team to a 10-6 division champion. This marked the Ravens’ seventh playoff appearance under Harbaugh.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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