Jim Harbaugh

Report: Harbaugh and Baalke are “barely speaking”

Jim Harbaugh Oakland A's hat

An article by Matt Barrows earlier today brought some calm and order to the Jim Harbaugh saga. To summarize Barrows’ report, the Browns called the 49ers to discuss Greg Roman and Jim Tomsula. The conversation veered to the fast lane (Harbaugh), and the Browns made an offer. The 49ers “rebuffed” said offer, and that was that.

Jason La Canfora, an NFL reporter for CBS Sports (who’s known by many as the draft pick spoiler guy on Twitter), filed a report two and a half hours after Barrows’ suggesting the 49ers might find themselves needing to choose between Harbaugh and 49ers GM Trent Baalke.

The idea of tension between those two is nothing new. Tim Kawakami was the first to write about their strained relationship back in December, and York admitted that the Harbaugh and Baalke have been known to “butt heads” from time to time. However, La Canfora’s report takes the perceived rift to an entirely different level.

The men are barely speaking, I’m told, and almost all communication is through email. Harbaugh also has a strained relationship with team president Paraag Marathe, sources said, and he has clashed with many within the organization. It could prove untenable. If anything, the impression I got this week was that the situation there is actually much worse than how it has been portrayed in the media, and helps explain the delay in giving a new deal to the coach, who has two years left on a contract he has outperformed.

I’ve seen Baalke in the same area as Harbaugh about a dozen times over the past year, with Baalke either high-fiving and talking to players before games or quietly observing the action on the practice field during the summer months. I never saw the two walk within 50 feet of each other, let alone speak in 2013. However, it never crossed my mind that anything was wrong with that arrangement for a few reasons:

  1. Harbaugh was busy coaching.
  2. Most practices are closed to the media.
  3. I’m not privy to what happens inside 49ers headquarters.

How critical is it for a head coach and general manager to like each other? It’s probably less important than clearheaded and logical decision-making, but anger and frustration can turn intelligent people into irrational combatants.

With this story stubbornly refusing to fizzle away over the weekend, the only way the 49ers can convince the public that harmony is present, or even possible, is if Harbaugh and Baalke both make definitive statements describing how much they enjoy working with one another. Since neither man is comfortable being publicly introspective, that’s probably not going to happen. 

If the power struggle is real, both men will dig in and see who Jed York chooses. York, whether he gave much thought to the Browns’ offer for Harbaugh or not, is going to have to decide whether the smart move is to either give Harbaugh a raise, facilitate his early exit, or let the situation play out and hope all parties can figure out a way to resolve their differences amicably. If York chooses the last option, he better prepare for more stories like La Canfora’s and further questioning of his organization’s stability. The media smells blood, and there’s still plenty of offseason left.

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52 Comments on "Report: Harbaugh and Baalke are “barely speaking”"

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improvisewithme
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improvisewithme

BASportsGuy Oh boy. Just when I thought the story was losing steam. Splitsville? I think so.

Hoosgow1
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Hoosgow1

Who should go and who should stay – I think –  depends on who’s guy A.J. Jenkins was, and LMJ to lesser extent.

norcalpunkman
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norcalpunkman

BASportsGuy time to cut Baalke loose

davidepedroli
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davidepedroli

BASportsGuy why give this any energy? LaConfora was the guy who said we weren’t getting him in the first place!

AdrianReynolds
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AdrianReynolds

David Shaw thought bubble: ________________________

aj_strong
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aj_strong

BASportsGuy So much for February being the boring month of sports smile

greebs
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greebs

BASportsGuy Do you really think it’s too toxic to matter? I just … don’t. Maybe wishful thinking but have to be able to work it out.

TSL
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TSL

This story/melodrama is getting more interesting by the minute.

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

greebs It seems like all this noise is building to a crescendo. I have no idea what’s going to happen, though.

greebs
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greebs

BASportsGuy I feel like it could easily crescend to … a long term extension with Harbaugh. And Baalke staying put.

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

greebs It certainly could, but I don’t know about “easily.”

greebs
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greebs

BASportsGuy That’s fair.

laughlikeahyena
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laughlikeahyena

I wouldn’t be surprised if the anonymous source close to the situation was Harbaugh’s agent. Probably to angle for contract extension talks to get serious. The two main sticking points are more money and more say in personnel for Harbaugh.

Darling_Nikki49
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Darling_Nikki49

BASportsGuy your article has me stressed out

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

Darling_Nikki49 Harbaugh often says the word “comfortable” has no place in football.

laughlikeahyena
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laughlikeahyena

BASportsGuy Darling_Nikki49 Harbaugh’s agent says “SHOW ME THE MONEY!” Wouldn’t surprise me if this “source” was Harbaugh’s agent…

Darling_Nikki49
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Darling_Nikki49

BASportsGuy fair enough. I just don’t want to lose Harbaugh. Would you rather keep Harbaugh or Baalke?

laughlikeahyena
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laughlikeahyena

BASportsGuy Darling_Nikki49 BTW, BASG, How many page hits have you gotten on your article? #justcurious

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

Darling_Nikki49 Much more difficult to both replace and keep Harbaugh, if that makes any sense.

BRIANisCOTTON
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BRIANisCOTTON

BASportsGuy this is so stupid. Not your specific article BSSG, but the people running with these rumors. Almost funny at this point.

BRIANisCOTTON
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BRIANisCOTTON

BASportsGuy I’ll bet $500 right now to anyone who thinks harbough is leaving. Any takers?? Exactly…

laughlikeahyena
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laughlikeahyena

@BRIANisCOTTON BASportsGuy  Finally, a fan that can see through the BS!

Darling_Nikki49
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Darling_Nikki49

BASportsGuy I agree, but without a doubt in my mind, I want to keep Harbaugh first

laughlikeahyena
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laughlikeahyena

What happened with AJ Jenkins? Baalke cut bait right away. He wanted Dalton, Harbaugh wanted Kap. Baalke has demonstrated he will put his ego aside for the good of the team and listen/get input from Harbaugh.

When this story was first reported, it was reported that Harbaugh himself wanted the job and then was the one to turn it down.  That’s strange that the man who wanted the job, suddenly doesn’t want it. It was even reported that Harbaugh and Paraag’s relationship is strained. 

This is all just maneuvers between Harbaugh’s agent and the 49ers front office on contract extensions.

laughlikeahyena
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laughlikeahyena

davidepedroli BASportsGuy Notice how BASG is only responding to the people afraid of this instead of people thinking it’s just nonsense.

189133
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189133

BASportsGuy Personality the issue? Or personnel decisions? If latter, which ones?

NinjaWarPrncss
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NinjaWarPrncss

BASportsGuy this is turning into a nightmare for #49 ers fans!

Lime
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Lime

When is Festus Ezili coming back?

coredump
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coredump

Curious; you folks that are afraid of losing Harbaugh, is it because the Niners have likely internal candidates in Roman, Fangio, and possibly Tomsula and Mangini waiting, and they are viewed as severe downgrades?
What if it were known that several “big name” coaches were interested in coming to the Niners, eg. Gruden, Cowher, David Shaw locally, etc.  Would that lessen your fear of losing Harbaugh?

paperback writer
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paperback writer

Jim Harbough’ brother, Coach John has a Super Bowl Ring and a higher salary – me thinks this is KILLING Jimmy!
Quick, Jed, make a coach’s swap with Baltimore for John! LOL

Eric
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Eric
Not being a 49er fan, It is incredibly funny that local media seems intent on ‘exposing’ supposed rifts, based solely on rumors. Harbaugh never says anything of substance regarding any subject, and with everything closed to the media, there is really zero substance to the issue.Yes, John makes more money, and has a ring…he’s been coaching a lot longer in the NFL. Jim Harbaugh still has a deal in place, and I’m sure he’d like to lock up an extension at more money. I’m sure Baalke and Harbaugh butt heads, especially regarding offensive personnel. None of these things are revolutionary… Read more »
JayTWasHere
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JayTWasHere

If Harbaugh ends up leaving SF, I’m going to blame the local media for adding pressure to this whole situation.  Seriously, please just let it go.

JayTWasHere
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JayTWasHere

Also, only an idiot would take the personnel guy over a good coach.  Tons of talent without a good coach gives you a team like the Detroit Lions the past few seasons.  If Harbaugh was on the open market there would be a feeding frenzy of teams trying to sign him.

jlcritser
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jlcritser

To be honest, I think Michael Lombardi should have been hired insteae of Baalke. Baalke has a good eye for talent but not getting along with wildly successful Jim Harbaugh is like throwing a bone to the frothy pitbulls ready to attack, can’t Baalke do better than that, by conceding some personnel decisions to Harbaugh? It is Harbaugh’s team after all, and his job to win the Super Bowl. Baalke’s job is to help facilitate Harbaugh’s vision.

AttyCCN
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AttyCCN

BASportsGuy woulda been easier if Jed and Baalke had scored some picks to get us out of this mess!

SportsVault
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SportsVault

BASportsGuy not what we want to hear as 49er fans

TeddyVerdun
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TeddyVerdun

BASportsGuy What about Tomsula being the replacement? What makes his experience any different than that of Singletary’s?

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

TeddyVerdun more years of coaching experience, including a year as a head coach in NFL Europe

TeddyVerdun
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TeddyVerdun

BASportsGuy And would you assume Harb would take most of his coaching staff with him to another team?

rjrcpa10
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rjrcpa10

BASportsGuy Is Jim trying to get Baalke out of there and have his buddy Lombardi brought in?

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

TeddyVerdun I would think so

paperback writer
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paperback writer

Harbough, Blake , Jed are all big boys – put the responsibility on them.
Crying about the media doing it is lame, hate a free press? There’s a dictator – led country waiting for you.

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

rjrcpa10 No way that happens after the Browns story blew up this weekend. Also, Lombardi took a job with the Patriots.

rjrcpa10
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rjrcpa10

BASportsGuy Ah ok-thanks. I didn’t keep up there. Biggest problem: Jim and Trent seem to disagree on personnel quite often.

Slam
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Slam

1. This is a real significant test for Jed York.
2. Are Baalke’s / Harbaugh’s roles clearly defined? Bruce Allen worked for Jon Gruden in Oakland, and they made a great team.
3. The traits that make Harbaugh a maniacal win-win-win Head Coach probably make him really difficult to work with in the front office. His strengths are also his weaknesses.
4. If I’m Jed York, I fire Baalke, and let JH hire his own GM, and I’d give JH a big fat raise. HC salaries do not count against the salary cap.
5. IMO This story has legs. It’s real.

thesntoday
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thesntoday

BASportsGuy I wonder how this ends. It could be a leverage game or Harbaugh leaving. This will be ridiculous until a contract is done.

TIM______
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TIM______

BASportsGuy TK says that JH and Baalke are no different now than they always were.

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

TIM______ Check my timeline, I already retweeted that.

TIM______
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TIM______

BASportsGuy Sorry,I missed that.

coredump
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coredump

… and he’s 1-0 as the Niners (admittedly interim) head coach.  smile

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