Harbaugh, Kaepernick willing to gamble on themselves

Harbaugh, Kaepernick willing to gamble on themselves
June 6, 2014, 8:00 am
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Coming off a Super Bowl loss a year ago the 49ers made a proposal to Jim Harbaugh for a contract extension. Harbaugh declined the offer. (USATSI)

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The 49ers have taken a stand that they will not pay coach Jim Harbaugh like a Super Bowl-winning coach until he wins a Super Bowl.

And their contract with quarterback Colin Kaepernick also challenges him to prove it on the field to earn his money.

[RELATED: 'Tip of the cap to Kap' -- 49ers' QB strikes team-friendly deal]

And here is how both Harbaugh and Kaepernick appear to be more similar than ever: They have proven that they are willing to bet on themselves to succeed.

The 49ers have made a contract offer to Harbaugh, and Harbaugh has yet to respond, reports Pro Football Talk.

A year ago, 49ers CEO Jed York made a proposal for a contract extension. Harbaugh declined the offer. And this was after the 49ers were coming off their loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.

After the 49ers’ season ended in January with a loss in the NFC Championship game to the Seattle Seahawks, it’s difficult to believe the 49ers significantly raised their offer. And you can be sure that Harbaugh did not lower his demand.

Harbaugh has two years remaining on his contract that pays him $5 million per season, plus an estimated $1 million more in endorsements with team sponsors. Pete Carroll had two years remaining on his contract, too, and led the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory before signing his new deal.

Harbaugh has always downplayed the importance of landing a contract extension. One source said he would probably be fine working on year-to-year contracts under the constant pressure to coaching for his job.

Of course, that’s not going to happen. But the point is that Harbaugh thrives in seemingly chaotic situations.

His quarterback this week signed a pay-as-you-go contract that requires him to play at a high level or run the risk of being jettisoned at just about any point through the 2020 season.

A full $12 million of Kaepernick’s deal – de-escalators that decrease the value by $2 million per season from 2015 to 2020 -- is tied to either taking the 49ers to the Super Bowl or being selected by the media as one of the top two quarterbacks in the entire NFL while also playing 80 percent or more of the 49ers’ offensive snaps.

Kaepernick was the first quarterback that Harbaugh added to his roster after taking over as coach in January 2011.

And they’re connected now more than ever.

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