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ST. LOUIS – The Raiders are reportedly the favorite to approach the 49ers about a trade for head coach Jim Harbaugh.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter, citing an NFL source, reported that information on Sunday morning. Schefter also said that the New York Jets could be in play for such a transaction.
Harbaugh’s contract lasts through the 2015 season, though his future with the 49ers seems tenuous due to reported conflicts with between him and the team’s power structure.
Harbaugh has led the 49ers through a period of tremendous success, with a 43-16 record in three-plus seasons with the team. The 49ers have struggled some this season, especially on offense, en route to a 7-5 record.
His next chance at victory comes Dec. 7, when his 49ers drive up the I-880 North to play the Raiders at O.co Coliseum.
Whether he ever leads the Raiders to victory is impossible to know at this time. There are far too many variables – the man remains under contract through 2015, for one – to say anything for certain.
Except this: The Raiders will be int he market for a head coach
The Raiders fired Dennis Allen after a Week 4 loss to Miami in London. Interim head coach Tony Sparano has held the team together, but the Raiders are expected to hire a replacement after this season.
Harbaugh could be a candidate. He would seem to fit the bill of a coach who could quickly change the culture in Alameda. Harbaugh coached Raiders quarterbacks coach from 2002-03, and is a big fan of late Raiders owner Al Davis.
In terms of a trade, it would be uncharacteristic for the Raiders’ current personnel department to give up a higher-round draft pick or picks for anyone, especially a head coach. The team needs young talent and has several holes to fill in the draft, which has recently been a fruitful form of player acquisition.
CSN 49ers insider Matt Maiocco reported that Harbaugh could be unwilling to go to a team that would weaken itself by giving up a draft pick to give up his services. Maiocco wrote that Harbaugh would be willing to coach the 49ers in 2015, the final season of his contract. The 49ers may not want that, and could be forced to fire him.