The 49ers are about as good as they can be given the current salary cap. They will not get much better, economics simply won't allow it. They might even get worse as Justin Smith and Frank Gore get older.
If Harbaugh couldn't win a Super Bowl coaching this team when Smith and Gore were in their primes, maybe Harbaugh can't win a Super Bowl coaching any team.
Could Bill Belichick have won the Super Bowl coaching the 49ers the past three seasons?
Could Sean Peyton?
Six head coaches right off the bat who deserve to make more money than Harbaugh.
Then, I count four more coaches who have not won a Super Bowl, but may have been able to win one had they coached Harbaugh's Niners. I'm talking Andy Reid, Bruce Arians, Jeff Fisher and Chip Kelly.
That's 10 coaches. I didn't even list retired coaches, like Bill Cowher and Dick Vermeil. You could dig up Vince Lombardi's bones tomorrow, and the bones could coach the 49ers to a Super Bowl victory.
There are only 10 coaches in the NFL who currently earn more money than Harbaugh. The 49ers compensate him appropriately.
Even if the 49ers choose to extend Harbaugh's contract just to make him happy, doing so would not improve his relationship with 49ers' general manager Trent Baalke. Extending Harbaugh's contract would make their relationship even worse. Those two almost certainly talk little these days.
After the 49ers beat the Packers at Lambeau Field during the playoffs, I witnessed an interaction between Harbaugh and Baalke I've been re-watching in my mind ever since.
The game had just ended. Harbaugh was bursting with pride, happier than I had ever seen him. At his postgame press conference, as soon as he made eye contact with me he blurted out, "You didn't think we were going to pull that out, did you?!" He even kissed a couple of writers on the head. He walked through the locker room and hugged every player and coach he saw. Then he stood in a doorway between the locker room and the buses so he could hug more people as they left.
Frank Gore walked into the doorway, hugged Harbaugh, and then hugged Greg Roman &#8211; one of those rocking-back-and-forth hugs that last 30 seconds.
Then Baalke walked into the doorway. He didn't even break stride for Harbaugh. Baalke tapped him on the thigh as if to say, "Atta boy," and kept walking. Harbaugh nodded and didn't say a word. You can interpret that any way you want. To me, they didn't seem like buddies.
The 49ers should trade Harbaugh right now. That would be their best move. Find a team he's willing to coach and trade him there. The draft picks the 49ers would receive would be worth more to them than Harbaugh. I am not saying he's a bad coach. He's good. I'm saying the draft picks are worth more to the Niners than he is. Every first and second-round draft pick is a potential franchise player.
Harbaugh's best quality is he gets his players to play hard. If the 49ers trade Harbaugh, they easily could promote defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to head coach. Tomsula could get the 49ers top-notch roster to play just as hard as Harbaugh gets them to play, and Tomsula would cost the 49ers about half of what Harbaugh earns.