NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If Rex Ryan is indeed a goner, it appears the Jets have already set their sights on his replacement.
Long rumored to be an object of their desire, the Jets will reportedly inquire about Jim Harbaugh’s availability after the season is over, ESPN reported on Monday.
Harbaugh is currently in the fourth year of a five-year deal with San Francisco, but the highly successful head coach’s time with the 49ers of late has been marred by infighting and, more importantly, a drop-off in performance by a team that has made the last three NFC championship games.
The 49ers are currently 7-5 and on the outside looking in at the playoffs. They are coming off a brutal 19-3 home loss to the defending champion Seattle Seahawks on Thanksgiving.
After the game, the daughter of team general manager Trent Baalke tweeted some unkind words in the direction of offensive coordinator Greg Roman. The tweet was later deleted, but it was just the latest chapter in the reportedly non-existent relationship between the 49ers’ front office and the sideline.
Harbaugh is believed to be coveted by not just the Jets (2-9), but also the Oakland Raiders, who are suffering through a brutal season and likely will be looking to replace interim coach Tony Sparano at season’s end. Sparano took over after Dennis Allen was fired following an 0-4 start. The Raiders are 1-7 since, including a humiliating 52-0 loss at St. Louis on Sunday.
Harbaugh appears to have no intention of wanting to stay in San Francisco, for he has reportedly turned down contract extensions, which last offseason prompted the 49ers to strongly consider trading him to the Cleveland Browns.
It is believed that the Jets will fire Ryan after the season and are reportedly keeping a “close eye” on Harbaugh’s situation in San Francisco. According to the New York Post, the Jets would have to part with at least a draft pick to get Harbaugh’s rights, and then pay him in excess of the $5 million per year he makes now with the Niners.
The Post also reported that a move for Harbaugh would likely mean the end of John Idzik’s tenure as GM, because Harbaugh would likely seek complete control of any team he goes to next.
The Jets host the Miami Dolphins on Monday to conclude Week 13 in the NFL.
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