The Seahawks added two years to Pete Carroll’s contract last week, and the reaction from a large portion of the 49ers’ fan base was to wonder what it means for Jim Harbaugh.
Certainly, Carroll’s extension through the 2016 season was expected at some point this offseason. After all, Carroll was scheduled to enter the final year of the original five-year, $35 million contract he signed in 2010.
Harbaugh has two seasons remaining on his five-year, $25 million deal. (Harbaugh is believed to earn up to another $1 million annually in endorsement deals with team sponsors.)
Team CEO Jed York approached Harbaugh last offseason about a contract extension. But the sides could not come together on an agreement. The belief is that York will not pay Harbaugh like a Super Bowl-winning coach until the 49ers win a Super Bowl under his guidance.
Although contract figures for Carroll have not been reported, it’s safe to assume Carroll’s new deal creates more salary separation from Harbaugh.
Harbaugh could accept a short-term extension that has less guaranteed money with incentives that push him into the coaching high-rent district with a Super Bowl win.
But he seems to be the kind of person who will bet on himself every time. It's difficult to envision a scenario in which Harbaugh accepts a lower deal now rather than take another shot at seeing if he can earn a Super Bowl-winning type of extension.