SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Embattled 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh suddenly has leverage when it comes to deciding where to coach in 2015 in he does not return to San Francisco.
Harbaugh recently a received a 6-year, $48 million offer to coach the University of Michigan, his alma mater, according to a report from the NFL Network Wednesday. An $8 million salary would make him one of the highest-paid head coaches in college football.
The NFL Network is also reporting Harbaugh has not given Michigan a definitive "no."
At 7-7, Harbaugh's 49ers will not make the playoffs for the first time in his four-year tenure in the NFL. He became the first coach in league history to take his team to three straight conference title games.
But numerous national reports have cited discord between the front office and Harbaugh after the two sides were unable to come to an agreement on a contract extension last offseason. They have both publicly elected to table those discussions until after 2014.
The 49ers would be on the hook for Harbaugh's $5 million salary for 2015 if they fired him, which has led to speculation about the team likely looking to trade him for draft picks in the coming offseason. But Harbaugh must sign off on any trade. If Michigan is his preferred destination, he could resign from the 49ers.
Following last week's 17-7 loss to the Seahawks that eliminated San Francisco from playoff contention, Harbaugh said he was available to negotiate a new extension with general manager Trent Baalke and CEO Jed York.