Report: 49ers Nearly Traded Coach Jim Harbaugh to Browns

Report: 49ers Nearly Traded Coach Jim Harbaugh to Browns

The San Francisco 49ers reportedly came close to trading head coach Jim Harbaugh to the Cleveland Browns for multiple draft picks. Both Harbaugh and the 49ers denied the reports. 

You read that right. ProFootballTalk initially reported that the Browns were on the verge of acquiring Harbaugh:

The Browns’ unpredictable head-coaching search nearly finished with what would have been the most unpredictable outcome of any head-coaching search since Jon Gruden was traded from the Raiders to the Buccaneers a dozen years ago.

Per multiple league sources, the Cleveland Browns nearly pulled off a trade with the 49ers for the rights to coach Jim Harbaugh.

A deal that would have sent multiple draft picks to San Francisco was in place between the teams. But Harbaugh ultimately decided not to leave the 49ers.

Harbaugh and 49ers CEO Jed York denied the reports after the Browns hired Mike Pettine:

49ers CEO Jed York said in a tweet to the NFL Network and Pro Football Talk: “Is this on the record? Report isn’t true.”

Harbaugh told ESPN’s Ed Werder via text: “I echo Jed York’s comment … ‘isn’t true.’ I know nothing about a trade with the Cleveland Browns and us, involving me.”

The Browns also released a statement Friday.

“The team conducted an extensive coaching search, and explored several options,” the statement read. “That search produced an outstanding head coach in Mike Pettine, and we’re excited about his future with the club.”