Thursday, January 6, 2011

With Harbaugh’s price rising, Josh McDaniels could be 49ers backup plan

Following reports that the Dolphins are making a major push to hire Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers have started to work on another possible coaching option.  And it probably won’t excite 49ers fans much.

The 49ers have reportedly had “initial discussions” with Josh McDaniels, according to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News.

At first blush, this looks a move aimed towards leverage with Harbaugh.  But as Florio wrote last night, there is a belief Harbaugh is looking for $7 million a season.  Adam Schefter says the 49ers are “prepared to move on” from Harbaugh because they “won’t compete financially” with the Dolphins if Miami will meet Harbaugh’s price.

The San Jose Mercury News echoes Schefter’s report, saying the team is prepared to move on.  The 49ers thought Harbaugh was close at one point to accepting a $5 million-per-season deal before the Dolphins swooped in.  (Schefter says San Francisco’s offer is closer to $4.5 million.)

San Francisco owner Jed York indicated that he wanted to go for an offensive coach, so McDaniels makes sense in that respect.   Kawakami throws out other possible candidates: Rams offensive coordinatory Pat Shurmur,  Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and former Ravens coach Brian Billick.

The 49ers have to get a final answer from Harbaugh before doing much of anything.   For a lot of Bay Area fans, losing out on him now would qualify as a bigger loss than the 49ers have suffered in a long time.

author:  Gregg Rosenthal

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