Johnson Needs To Throw The Kitchen Sink At 49ers For Harbaugh If He's Available

By Jason Keidel
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Now that the Jets have made the most underwhelming announcement that Geno Smith will start next Monday against Miami, we’re supposed to wonder whether Rex Ryan made the call or general manager John Idzik.

Who cares?

The real issue is whether either man will be back next season. If Woody Johnson is truly going big-game hunting after this disastrous season, the answer should be a resounding, double negative.

There’s only one true trophy, one 12-point buck Woody can bag this winter — Jim Harbaugh. And if the ornery 49ers coach is on sale after the holidays, he needs to be the singular focus of Johnson’s affection.

It doesn’t take a Mensa member to realize Harbaugh won’t tolerate a cap guy masquerading as a personnel man. Indeed, if he can’t share an office with Trent Baalke, who helped build San Francisco into playoff mainstays, then there’s no circumstance under which Harbaugh will accept the man who wasted a top-10 pick on Dee Milliner.

Mike Francesa speculated on what it would take to land Harbaugh, whom the 49ers have under contract through 2015 but will almost surely listen to legitimate offers for. Harbaugh happens to be one hell of a coach and quarterback whisperer. And while we all know draft picks are the highest form of currency in the NFL, the Jets can’t let short-term pain preclude them from stalking Harbaugh, who is certainly worth a second- or third-round draft pick.

Some say Harbaugh can’t handle the fishbowl of New York City media, that he can’t bask in Broadway’s glow without burning in its glare. His ego won’t allow for the visceral questions our beat reporters will hurl his way.

Nonsense. If anything the reverse is the reality. New York City is exactly the place to fit the contours of his colossal ego. Harbaugh would have total autononmy, hand-pick Idzik’s replacement, and get on with the business of getting the Jets their first Lombardi Trophy since most of us were born.

This missive isn’t about Fan Guy or tweaking Jets fans in general. No one can defend the dreadful effort that Gang Green gave you this season. When someone still says that the Jets still play hard for Rex Ryan, I implore them to recall Monday’s game against a Buffalo.

You cannot say that the Jets are 35 points worse than the Bills, on a neutral field, when the Bills were trapped for days under a biblical blanket of snow, using snowmobiles to get to the team facilities, and forced to fly to Detroit.

Even if the Jets bungle their coaching search and don’t land Harbaugh — not a wild assumption, given their history — they can’t justify their HC or GM returning next fall. It’s time for Johnson to step up, to get angry, to send a siren call to Jets fans that he’s about the best coach, not the most likable one. Hopefully, the shampoo heir’s hairs are standing in the right direction.

Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel

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