Jim Harbaugh's tenure with the San Francisco 49ers could end with a rare trade involving a coach. In the latest rumor involving the 2011 AP NFL Coach of the Year, the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets are both reportedly interested in making a deal for Harbaugh, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The Raiders are considered the favorite to trade for Harbaugh, although the Jets remain a possibility, especially since it's likely they will move on from Rex Ryan. If a deal is struck, it would be the first trade involving an NFL head coach since the Raiders dealt Jon Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002.
It's also a possibility that has been entertained by the 49ers in the past. Pro Football Talk reported Harbaugh was "nearly traded" to the Cleveland Browns in February, though 49ers president Jed York publicly denied the report and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport cited sources who said it was "completely false" and "ridiculous."
Harbaugh, 50, joined the 49ers in 2011 after four seasons as the coach of the Stanford Cardinals. In each of his first three seasons in San Francisco, the team advanced to the NFC Championship and earned a trip to the Super Bowl in 2012. With a 7-5 record through Week 13, 2014 is the first year in Harbaugh's tenure with the 49ers that the team has accrued more than four regular season losses.
Harbaugh's future with 49ers
The Raiders are already without a head coach after firing Dennis Allen in September and are currently operating with Tony Sparano as the team's interim coach. The Jets are rapidly approaching a split with Ryan after six seasons. At a dismal 2-9, they are already well out of playoff contention.
Gruden was traded to the Buccaneers in 2002 as part of a deal that sent multiple first- and second-round picks to the Raiders. Tampa Bay won a Super Bowl in Gruden's first season with the team, but was fired in January 2009 after seven seasons.
If Harbaugh and the 49ers part ways, the team is expected to look internally first for someone to fill the void. Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio are considered the favorites to take over for Harbaugh.