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Why The 49ers Are Better Off By Parting With Trent Baalke, Not Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh
Thearon W. Henderson- Getty Images

Reports have surfaced that the Cleveland Browns came to an agreement with the San Francisco 49ers for the rights of head coach Jim Harbaugh in exchange for multiple draft picks.

Harbaugh has two years remaining on his contract and has already turn down a contract extension prior to the 2013 season. Prompting 49ers CEO Jed York to say “I fully expect to sit down at the end of the season and see where we go from here.” Ultimately what it really comes down to is the rumored tension between general manager Trent Baalke and Harbaugh.

Ultimately what it comes down will San Francisco choose their general manager over their head coach? Is that a good move for the franchise to keep Baalke over Harbaugh? The answer is a resounding no. Baalke didn’t draft well in 2012 as first round pick wide receiver A.J. Jenkins didn’t make a single catch in his rookie season and ultimately got traded for another draft bust Jonathan Baldwin of the Kansas City Chiefs.

LaMichael James hasn’t found a role with the team and it seems like he’s a candidate to get moved thoughthe49ers gm doesn’t seem ready to let him go just yet. The 2013 is still a work in progress as most of the picks were projects or for depth. Defensive end Tank Carradine and running back Marcus Lattimore missed the entire season rehabbing from injuries suffered at the college level. While tight end Vance McDonald didn’t get used much in the passing game and as the season progressed became a solid blocker and safety Eric Reid had a surprising good rookie campaign registering 77 tackles, 11 passes defended, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

In 2011 it was Harbaugh who pushed Baalke to trade up in the second round for quarterback Colin Kaepernick and at that time showcasing confidence that Alex Smith will win at the NFL level after a less than stellar start to his career.

Under Harbaugh the 49ers have gone to the NFC Championship game twice and made one Super Bowl appearance. He’s acheived a regular season record of 36-11-1 and a 5-3 playoff record. To put into perspective San Francisco from 2005-2010 went 37-59 with no playoff appearances.

At the moment the 49ers head coach is a bargain at $5 million dollars, so there’s no question he will get a raise. What’s left for the organization to do? That is to allow for him to become more involved in player personnel decisions even if it means losing Baalke as their general manager is far more expendable than Harbaugh is.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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