Report: Harbaugh Nearly Traded to Browns

Jim Harbaugh (Getty Images)

A report surfaced from the NFL Combine Friday saying the 49ers came close to trading the rights to head coach Jim Harbaugh for a package of draft picks. Team owner Jed York quickly took to Twitter to deny the report.

The NFL Combine is not normally the forum for earth-shattering news. But if Pro Football Talk's report is true, it could pave an icy road for future relations between the San Francisco 49ers and their head coach that has reached at least the NFC title game in the three seasons under his watch.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and NBC Sports, the Cleveland Browns were close to acquiring the rights to Jim Harbaugh in a trade with San Francisco for multiple draft picks, but Harbaugh elected to stay in the Bay Area. Florio cited multiple league sources in his story and later said the 49ers had not gotten back to him.

"I don't know specifically why but there is some speculation that his family wanted to stay put, specifically his wife wanted to stay put," Florio said on 95.7 The Game in an interview this afternoon.

49ers owner Jed York took to Twitter to reject Florio's report.

There is precedent for coaches getting traded for compensation. In 2002, the Oakland Raiders sent Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay for two first-round picks, two second-round picks and $8 million.

Harbaugh is entering the fourth season of a five-year, $25 million deal. His $5 million per season ranks third within the NFC West behind Jeff Fisher and recent Super Bowl winner Pete Carroll.


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