It's seems the pressure is well and truly on Jim Harbaugh now.
Whatever you want to make of the trade talk to the Cleveland Browns, there can be no smoke without fire, and the Browns have admitted publicly that they made a trade offer for 49ers head coach Harbaugh.
It's understood that the Harbaugh camp briefly thought about the opportunity but they declined the invitation.
Oakland traded Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay in 2002 in a high stakes NFL trade that cost the Buccaneers two first round picks, two second round picks and $8 million in cash.
We don't know the specifics of what would have been offered for Harbaugh, but the 49ers have since strongly denied that an approach was ever made.
However, as it's well known, Harbaugh and Niner general manager Trent Baalke have had plenty of 'run ins' according to the current San Francisco coach.
It poses the question really about how much longer Harbaugh has to win the big one. Nobody gets a shot at it for life, and the 49ers have been so close for three seasons in a row.
The Niners have built a team that is now designed to win big, and senior 49ers sources have been understand to have said that there are many coaches that could win with this team.
It's clear that was in the mind of the Browns when they made their approach before they signed on Mike Pettine as their head coach.
Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam told USA Today that 'there was an opportunity there, and it didn't materialize."
Now obviously this has gained a lot of hit back reaction from San Francisco in which they state the term 'opportunity' as both 'completely false' and 'ridiculous'.
It's definitely a classic case of who do you believe?
At the end of the day why would an owner come out and say those things if they weren't true?
The Browns have no interest in derailing the 49ers as they are not in the same conference, let alone division.
So it seems that the 49ers are back tracking to hide their shame.
But why would they want to trade their head coach who has had three successful seasons?
I guess one of the reasons is because you can legitimately point the finger at the play calling of Harbaugh in the Super Bowl in 2013 and in the 2014 NFC Championship Game.
It doesn't really matter how good you are during the regular season, if you can't provide the end result for a franchise craving a sixth Lombardi Trophy, well then it will be the end of the road eventually.
For Harbaugh it could well be the end of the road at the end of the 2014 NFL season if they don't win it all.
49ers management probably believe with the players that they have available, four seasons is more than enough time to bring it all home to San Francisco.
The sad truth is that if they would have breached the Ravens goal-line in Super Bowl XLVII when they had 1st & goal inside the ten yard line, Harbaugh would probably be on a 10 or 15 year contract right now.
But that's the fine line between winning and losing.
And with all of the talk surrounding the Harbaugh trade that could have happened, next year will no doubt be a make or break year for the lively coach that has built so much in three seasons in the NFL.
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