One of the more amusing stories over the weekend was Mike Florio’s scoop that there was almost a trade between the 49ers and Browns that would have sent Jim Harbaugh to Cleveland. San Francisco owner Jed York denied the report on Twitter, and everyone sorta ran with that in the beginning because Florio can be annoying sometimes and it was fun to see him get shut down by a person of authority.
But then Browns owner Jimmy Haslam gave some credence to the story, saying there was an “opportunity” that didn’t materialize. York subsequently acknowledged that the 49ers were contacted by Cleveland, but had no interest in pursuing it. (Florio’s original report said that it was Harbaugh who ultimately nixed the swap. WHOSE WORDS ARE MORE TRUE?!)
In any event, the talks likely originated in part because Harbaugh and San Francisco GM Trent Baalke have a notoriously rocky relationship, and people inside the building have told Jason La Canfora that it’s only getting worse:
"There is increasing buzz that the team might have to decide between Harbaugh or GM Trent Baalke. The men are barely speaking, I’m told, and almost all communication is through email. Harbaugh also has a strained relationship with team president Paraag Marathe, sources said, and he has clashed with many within the organization. It could prove untenable."
Harbaugh has two seasons left on his contract, so this is a situation we’ll be hearing about constantly unless/until he gets an extension.
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