KPIX 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “Gameday” every Sunday night at 11:30pm on KPIX 5 and offers his unique sports analysis here.
SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) — What does Jim Harbaugh really want?
From everything I read it’s all about money. Seven million, $10 million, name your price and the 49ers will have to pay it.
Or is this about more than money? I’m on board with the theory that Harbaugh’s agent is having a field day in his office, laughing about the chaos in Cleveland and knowing that his client’s price tag goes up with every article posted on the internet. David Dunn wants Harbaugh to be the highest paid coach in the league. Just imagine when Pete Carroll sees all those zeroes down at Stalag 49. He’s got the ring, Jim’s got the bling.
But is Fort Knox what truly drives Jim Harbaugh? What’s he going to do, become the league’s first $10 million coach and upgrade to the Men’s Wearhouse? Is he going to turn in his old Chevy pickup for a Tesla? Can you really see this guy trying to relax in a new beachfront mansion in Maui? “Hey Nellie, I just made another batch of Mai Tais. Come on over and listen to a little Don Ho.”
I suspect Harbaugh is less interested in money than power. I think he wants the hammer. He wants to be the one to say “yes” or “no.” He doesn’t care about anything but the next opponent. If you’re not in the locker room, you’re in the way. And that includes the owner, the PR guys, Dennis O’Donnell, the secretary and Trent Baalke.
What do you suppose is the reason for the reported friction between coach and general manager? It sure isn’t about who got the best suite at Levis Stadium. It’s about personnel. It’s about players. . It’s about the draft, the free agents, and the trades. It’s about the 53 men in that locker room and Harbaugh wants the final say of who gets their name on the back of a uniform.
So where does that leave Trent Baalke? He’s still the GM. Harbaugh doesn’t want to bother with the Pythagorean theorem also known as the salary cap. He doesn’t want the headaches of GM meetings, agents, and the minutiae of running a pro football team. That belongs to Baalke.
Harbaugh wants the rock. Like it or not, he’s the face of the franchise and the only indispensable man at 4949 Centennial Blvd. (If that street even still exists. )
If Baalke walks, you’ve got plenty men in waiting: Mike Lombardi, Jack Harabaugh or Merrill Feuerborn.
See you on TV.