According to a report, the Cleveland Browns tried to trade for San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh during their coaching search last month.
Pro Football Talk reported that the Browns and 49ers had a deal in place that would have sent multiple draft picks to San Francisco, but Harbaugh turned the deal down.
The Browns declined specific comment on the report, saying only that many options were considered before former Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was hired.
49ers CEO Jed York, however, flatly denied the report.
In a direct message on Twitter to Mike Florio, who wrote the piece on Pro Football Talk, and to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, York said the report “isn’t true.”
Meanwhile, Harbaugh’s long-term future with the 49ers remains uncertain, according to a report on CSNBayArea.com.
One source told CSNBayArea.com that the 49ers are not willing to pay Harbaugh at a level where Super Bowl-winning coaches get paid because, well, he hasn’t won a Super Bowl.
In three seasons, Harbaugh has taken the 49ers to one Super Bowl and is 1-2 in three straight trips to the NFC Championship.
While many believed the trading of coaches had been outlawed by the NFL in the wake of the Raiders dealing Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay after the 2001 season, the NFL policy still exempts head coaches from that provision that bans the exchange of draft picks or cash for the release of employees who are still under contract.
It’s hard to see how the 49ers wouldn’t want to keep Harbaugh, as the 49ers are 36-11-1 in the regular season under Harbaugh while also winning five postseason games.
Harbaugh, the son of longtime former college coach Jack Harbaugh, actually got into coaching before his NFL career ended, working as a volunteer assistant for his father at Western Kentucky from 1994-2000 while still performing his day job as an NFL quarterback in the fall.