This is why we can be sure that an NFL team won't jump in with a mega-offer and derail the Michigan deal.

Submitted by FrankMurphy on December 28th, 2014 at 12:00 PM

(TL;DR version: there are a lot of things that need to happen for an NFL team to steal him away at this point, and there isn't enough time for all of those things to happen.)

Based on everything that has been reported and rumored, there are four things of which we can be reasonably certain: 1) Hackett is in the Bay Area as we speak to try to seal the deal, 2) whatever understanding has been reached involves some type of agreement by the 49ers to release Harbaugh from his contract, 3) there is a meeting scheduled between Harbaugh and Hackett at some point after the 49ers' final game today, and 4) as of last night, Harbaugh was sure enough that he wanted to come to Michigan that he gave his close friend Dave Feldman the go-ahead to report the news.

Neither Michigan nor the 49ers want Harbaugh to go to another NFL team, which is why the 49ers would probably only release Harbaugh from his contract if he agrees to take the Michigan job (or at the very least, agrees not to pursue a position with another NFL team). Hackett has probably spoken with the 49ers' brass about extricating Harbaugh from his contract and may have some kind of understanding in place by which Michigan covers all or part of Harbaugh's buyout (or, if there isn't a buyout, pays the 49ers some kind of consideration) on the condition that the 49ers refrain from trying to trade his rights to another NFL team. Thus, I think the meeting scheduled for after the game involves Hackett, Harbaugh (and his agent), AND 49ers representatives.

At that meeting, the written contracts that consummate this three-way understanding will be executed. It's in the interests of both Michigan and the 49ers to hold the meeting as soon as possible after the game ends, preferably before Harbaugh leaves the stadium and ideally immediately after he's done addressing his team and meeting with the media (which is why yesterday's report that Michigan is sending a "crew" to the 49ers game makes sense). Today is game day, and knowing how laser-focused and competitive Harbaugh is, his mind is on the game and only the game.

So, the only way that this could fall through and we lose Harbaugh to the Raiders or another NFL team is if 1) Harbaugh gets cold feet between the end of the game and the meeting, 2) he meets with his agent during that short window and tells him to delay the meeting, 3) his agent delays the meeting, 4) his agent immediately gets on the phone with other teams and is able to come to an agreement with one of them, 5) his agent somehow gets the 49ers to give the other team permission to interview Harbaugh, 6) the team satisfies its Rooney rule obligations, 7) the team and the 49ers agree to a trade, and 8) Hackett and everyone who has lobbied Harbaugh over the past few weeks is unable to sway him back. Keep in mind that if 1, 2, and 3 happen, Hackett will probably give Harbaugh a hard deadline of no more than two days to say yes or no, and that 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 would all need to happen before that deadline. The likelihood of that is extremely small.

In short, I think we can rest assured that this is done.



December 28th, 2014 at 12:04 PM ^

I didn't read all that (paragraphs dude).  However there will not likely be any "hail mary" NFL offers becuase Hackett isn't stupid and almost certainly made a deal with the Niners to keep JH away from other NFL teams.  Rememer, the Niners have to give another team permission, which they won't do if they have an agreement with Michigan. 


December 28th, 2014 at 12:07 PM ^

I think the biggest sign is that all his friends and family are mobilized for this to happen, including hotels and flights to AA for the bball game tuesday.  You don't put that many people in motion and then have a quick change of heart.

The Reeve

December 28th, 2014 at 12:09 PM ^

This misses the larger point. Harbaugh is a man of integrity, and if he had any doubts about the commitment to Michigan, he would not have let Michigan put itself in a bad situation regarding its next coach if he was uncertain. All that you say is interesting, but this is about human nature and a man of integrity, and not about negotiations anymore.


December 28th, 2014 at 1:02 PM ^

He would piss a lot of people off, including former assistants and most all of the Michigan insiders. Elephant like people who have long never-forgetting memories and already prostrated themselves by "forgiving and forgetting" Harbaugh's prior criticism and openly supporting Jim as the next coach.

If he changes his mind now, there is no coming back - he'll be a black sheep like Miles or worse for the rest of his career.

I believe this thing has been somewhat orchestrated for a while by Jack. Even the Hoke and Mattison hires were Harbaugh aided to rebuild the recruiting classes in the event that at some point in the future John or Jim wished to step in when Hoke was finished. (i.e., he didn't come last time because he wisely thought he could be successful faster with the 49ers given our self inflicted recruiting holes.)

I think that time line moved up on them: they expected Hoke to turn the corner and be successful longer - gave him space and air cover. That didn't happen so the time is now.

Very unlikely Michigan would extend their necks so far unless this a commitment of honor. Everyone else say otherwise are media trolling for clicks. (Remain calm and stop feeding the trolls ...)


December 28th, 2014 at 12:14 PM ^

is how differently Hackett operates from Dave Brandon.  Brandon engaged in a long series of poorly thought-out moves--among them, the deal with Notre Dame that allowed them to back out of the series with one more home game than UM.  Why he would he have agreed to a contract that would allow that?

(scratches head incredulously)


December 28th, 2014 at 12:25 PM ^

He also tweeted this. Backtrack much. These guys are making themselves look like a bunch of passive aggressive idiots. What a joke.
"@mikefreemanNFL: Again, no one is saying Harbaugh isn't going to Michigan. Looks like he is. Just saying no firm deal in place yet. Calm yourselves."


December 28th, 2014 at 12:14 PM ^

JH would not have been finalizing an agreement if he was open to other offers. He would have waited a couple days before finalizing the Michigan offer.

Also, should he back out now he would compromise his reputation to the point that no one would trust what he has to say.

He is coming.


December 28th, 2014 at 12:21 PM ^

ESPN/NFL guys still asserting no deal is done (and even that the Raiders still have a chance). 

All with the Michigan plane sitting in the hangar, ready to fly.


Odds that Harbaugh wears Maize and Blue to his last presser?