Submitted by Brian on December 22nd, 2014 at 1:32 PM


never not funny

ANOTHER DAY FULL OF TREAD. Status quo after the Dolphins news yesterday. May get some leaks tomorrow if the players get some info; I am guessing Hackett doesn't put anything definitive in that call because he knows anything he says is going to get out. Hoping we get a coy but confident read from that.

Insiders now settling in: most are saying they are cautiously optimistic, think Harbaugh has told people it's happening, but are wary of NFL offers. Steve Lorenz pulled the trigger on a 247 Crystal Ball pick, so there's that. He's been on the verge of one for a while, and a couple things pushed him over the line($), including "'strong rumblings' from the agent side of things"—again information that does not seem to be part of the Michigan echo chamber.

UNLESS…? There are some rumblings this could be the done deal day. Those Who Stay says there's an agent meeting today; Mysterious Insider GFunk has been positive before and just went to 100% on Rivals; some rando who likes My Name Is Earl on twitter says it's done. I've got a couple of similar reports.

Individually I'd shrug those off, but a lot of them coming in quick succession may be a real thing.

MORE POSITIVE BITS. Another day, more confidence from within the echo chamber. Gregg Henson has a couple former players who are on board now and weren't before. Meanwhile the NFL reporter moonwalk continues:

Pretty much the same number and level of NFL jobs will come open as everyone was expecting earlier this year. That's some spin right there.

TELEPHONE EXEMPLAR. Jay Glazer is reporting that the 49ers and Harbaugh are going to part ways within 48 hours of the season's end; he appears to be the only one doing so. It's tough to tell these days as any piece of news is replicated across a dozen platforms with REPORT tacked on the front of it, but I think it's just Glazer in a brief TV segment. Kawakami tweeted something similar, but he's not being passed around as a REPORT.

I bet Glazer's right; I also think that people are reading too much into his statement. He picked an intentionally vague phrase to communicate what's going down: "end that relationship." SI transformed that into "fired." Rivals asserts that Glazer is reporting the 49ers "will not seek a trade for compensation." Glazer did no such thing. He just said expect the two parties to move quickly after the season.

This obviously has implications for Michigan. If the 49ers are going to fire Harbaugh that potentially saves them some money; if they've given up on the idea of trading him at all that's a big hint as to where things are going. Unfortunately, Glazer said no such thing.

That's a good example of how things get twisted as they get passed along, at least. Why I'm more cautious than might be warranted.

PLAN B. This isn't directly about Michigan, but Adam Schefter reports that David Shaw isn't even thinking about leaving Stanford for the NFL:

Any NFL team hoping to make a major run at Stanford head coach David Shaw will, in all probability, come away disappointed, sources tell ESPN. …But those who know the 42-year-old Shaw now believe he will not leave Stanford, no matter how much the NFL wants him.

This is the opposite of the usual play for a coach coming off a meh year. Agents will float their guy as a possibility here or there in an effort to get an extension or at least some patience; this is not a guy who thinks he's under any threat saying stay away. That almost certainly means he won't be responsive to Michigan inquiries.

I didn't want to punt from the opponent 29 anyway.

ALSO IN PLAN B. Michigan is covering all their bases. They had a meeting Friday about Plan B, C, and D options. No names came out of that, unfortunately. They are checking out NFL coordinators, which is disappointing but sensible given the landscape post-Harbaugh. If Mullen and Miles aren't real candidates for whatever reason, the next option is…? I honestly don't know.

Don't panic—Michigan remains confident they'll get their guy. They are doing due diligence so they can move quickly even if Harbaugh doesn't come. This means it is not a "done deal"… as of a few days ago.

I'M NOT SURE THAT'S WHO YOU WANT TO RIDE WITH. That Rivals report also addresses that La Canfora article scoffed at around here yesterday:

For the record, he's right about Harbaugh briefly accepting the Michigan job [in 2011], U-M coveting his brother and John Harbaugh making it clear he wants to stay at Baltimore, and we've reported that in the last month. We also reported Michigan's interest in Payton, at which point reporters like Fletcher Mackel out of New Orleans dismissed it as "embarrassing."

I've heard a lot of different things about Harbaugh "briefly accepting" the job in 2011, and they're all semantics. Mostly those assertions are used to make the insider feel good about being wrong or paint Harbaugh in a negative light. I don't buy them, and I've heard as much stuff about how Brandon scared Harbaugh off as stuff about how it almost happened.

We know that The Process didn't end up firing Rodriguez until January 5th, the same day Harbaugh met with the 49ers for five hours. The Michigan job is open for all of a day before Harbaugh is hired. Either Michigan was actively undermining the guy who was supposedly still their head coach or the brief acceptance thing is a joke. It is certain that there was no point at which Harbaugh agreed to coach Michigan while the job was actually open. If he verbally assented to coach Michigan in December, it is on Dave Brandon for not locking that down by maintaining the fiction that Rich Rodriguez had a shot to keep his job.

Meanwhile, trying to buttress your argument that Sean Payton was really an option with an article that mentions Doug Marrone and Jason Garrett…

ETC.: Pat Narduzzi a prime candidate at Pitt. Doug Marrone has "nothing to do" with the Michigan job.


Maize and Blue…

December 22nd, 2014 at 4:37 PM ^

The way that Harbaugh's contract has been expressed on this blog, am I correct in my understanding that if he makes less than five million dollars next year, the 49ers will have to pay him the five million dollar buyout on his contract for next year, provided that they fire him at the end of their season ? If so, can Michigan save about four million dollars by structuring Harbaugh's contract to pay him four million the first year, and then six or eight, or whatever the actual dollar amount is per year on the remaining years of his contract ?

If this is the case, Harbaugh would make nine million in the first year, five million paid by the 49ers, and four million paid by Michigan, thus, giving Harbaugh what amounts to a signing bonus, saves Michigan four million dollars to spend on coordinators, or whatever, and gives Harbaugh one last "up yours" to his friends in the 49ers front office.


December 22nd, 2014 at 6:34 PM ^

I think there's a flaw in your equation somewhere? I think it might be the 49ers would owe him the difference of $5mill and whatever he gets paid elsewhere IF they fire him... in which case paying JH an annually rising salary starting at $1 mill next year and jumping up to $6M then $7M, $8M, $9M etc gives him a great incentive to stay, and screws SF into paying him $4M next year - if that type of thing would interest him?

Another reason they have no incentive to fire him any time soon... if any of this legalese is valid at all?!


December 22nd, 2014 at 3:03 PM ^

If you were a truly competent reporter, why would you want an NFL beat? The players never say anything worthwhile, the coaches are overwhelmingly robotic football drones, the league itself makes Fort Schembechler look like your aunt's Facebook in terms of information openness and you're going to spend half your time effectively on the police blotter beat.

It's the same thing that's made the White House beat lose its luster among actual journalists -- you reach the top of your profession just to become a nominally independent stenographer for the institution you nominally cover. Even the stories you "break" are fed to you by people with agendas who are giving you specific information for their own purposes, whether it's directing energy policy or calling out the troubled cornerback for "character" issues.

If you do become an independent watchdog on the institution, you get frozen out, lose access, never get the quotes you need on time and end up losing your job.

MI Expat NY

December 22nd, 2014 at 1:55 PM ^

I wouldn't be surprised if the last time he ever had to report on something Michigan related was when he was actually at Michigan.  He's an NFL guy, he has NFL connections.  I'm not shocked that he hasn't cultivated any connections at Michigan.  For what purpose would he need those?  


December 22nd, 2014 at 2:50 PM ^

Schefter graduated from Michigan 25 years ago.

Jim Harbaugh was the starting quarterback here during his time at the school

he is not from Michigan, he did not stay in Michigan for any stretch after his graduation

whatever connections he has would be the same as any other alumni... friends of friends who know someone who knows someone.


December 22nd, 2014 at 1:42 PM ^

With any luck, we may not get to Searchbits XXX: The Fappening.


As an aside, I tried to google that phrase in order to give proper credit to the mgouser who initially coined the phrase.  BIG MISTAKE.


December 22nd, 2014 at 1:42 PM ^

Man, this shit really is a drug isn't it?  I crave the SEARCHBITS, want more of them, have a rush while reading it, and then am left with an empty and unsatisfied feeling at the end.  Can't wait for all this to be over.


December 22nd, 2014 at 1:55 PM ^

It's because people like Schefter have been telling them the whole time that it's a pipe dream. The national reporting on this situation has been kind of astounding. From things like Cutcliffe "turning Michigan down" to the complete ignorance from NFL reporters (asserting a week ago that Jim Harbaugh MAY be the number one target over Jay Gruden... What??)

Anyway, that's what the average person sees so that is their pretext when you tell them that you are optimistic. It'll be great to see everyone's reactions if this happens.


December 22nd, 2014 at 4:36 PM ^

No, honestly people not intimately involved in following this "process", especially those who don't care about (or are even actively hostile towards) Michigan football, they have zero reason to believe it's even a possibility. I mean until the 6 for $49 Million leaked out...

A post last week listed all the NFL > NCAA coaching transitions. Like literally NO NFL HC has ever walked away from a Conference Champion/SB level team to go coach a college team instead. Bill Walsh took a 2-3 year hiatus between SF & Stanford...and that's the closest proimity! Weis might be next and he was an OC not HC.

So this is totally uncharted waters. It's not just the bleepin "insiders" making people doubt that IT'S HAPPENING... It's history.

That being said - IT'S HAPPENING!!!


December 22nd, 2014 at 6:52 PM ^

If Harbaugh comes here, that's not what he'll be doing either. He will be fired/leaving a collapsing team in disarray which seriously regressed, not a conference champion/SB team.

That said, getting Pete Carroll at USC but without recruiting violations would be just fine with me :)


December 22nd, 2014 at 7:46 PM ^

Whoa there friend-o!!!

Any/all problems we're encountering out here in 49er land were predetermined before this season even began by numerous devastating injuries, by "leaks" and innuendo about disharmony, by serious disagreements on roster construction and how to discipline the many law-breakers the Baalke group have assmebled here.

As HC, Harbaugh is obviously the person ultimately in the seat of responsibility for the team's play on the field, but Cumong Man, these reports this was to be his last year in SF began long before anyone know how said team would perform on the field. Therefore he is certainly NOT being fired/run out of town based on this season's performance.

O Line injuries played a major role in Kap not having time to find secondary receivers. I cannot say I'm comfortable he spends as much time on film study as I wish he would, but not all their offensive problems are Kap's fault, and certainly not Harbaugh's. Gore's aging, they lost all his backups to injury, Vernon Davis let's call it injuries cuz who the Hell knows what happened to him this year?!

Then the D was a rock until the injuries just finally became too numerous to overcome - Bowman, Willis, then Borland (NFL D Rookie of Year) on and on... Who was even on the field when SD was rallying in the final 5 minutes the other night?!

I guess the tone and tenor or your comments made it sound as if you have a better option to coach Michigan in mind? A theoretical "clean" Pete Carroll I guess? When I see garbage like that from someone with CA in their user name, I know I'm dealing with SoCal nonsense... to those of you not familiar with the North/South dichotomy in Cali, SoCal is to CA as sparty is to MI