Jim Harbaugh contract decision risky

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
11:00
PM ET
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers needed to extend the contract of coach Jim Harbaugh before the 2014 season started.

Harbaugh
Well, that's not going to happen.

Team owner Jed York said Thursday night on a Bay Area sports television show that he and Harbaugh have decided to table talks about a new deal until after the season.

I can understand going this route. Harbaugh has two seasons left on his deal. But there are risks involved.

Once the two sides wait until after this season, the clock is ticking. They have to get a deal done. If we get to this point next season, the 49ers will be in training camp and the final season of Harbaugh's deal will have commenced. It would be a gigantic distraction for everyone if an agreement isn't reached.

Ideally, both sides would like to sign a new deal after the 49ers win a Super Bowl. Harbaugh would be at his most valuable and the team would be glowing after its sixth Super Bowl title, and the first in 20 years.

But if that doesn't happen, there could be differing opinions. I don't get the feeling either side is overly tense about this not being done, but let's face it; if the negotiations were easy, a deal would already be done.

Also, fully expect to hear stories of other franchises trolling around Harbaugh in an attempt to pry him away in a trade next offseason. It already happened earlier this year in Cleveland. He is a top-notch coach and there will be suitors.

While I get the reasoning to put talks off until after this season, this will soon become a front-burner situation.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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