I used to have a running debate on which coaches in pro sports would be worth trading a top-five draft pick for. In the NFL, Bill Belichick used to be the only one, but Jim Harbaugh has moved into that upper echelon during his last three seasons in San Francisco. In the NBA, Gregg Popovich is the only lone NBA coach worth throwing an elite prospect away for and it's not close, especially if RC Buford tags along.
Anyways, turns out the Cleveland Browns agree and actually made plans to acquire Harbaugh while they were getting quickly rejected by assistants around the league who were without head coaching jobs. According to Pro Football Talk, the Browns nearly pulled off a trade involving multiple picks that would have sent Harbaugh from the Bay Area to the Snow Belt. Nobody is sure how serious the 49ers were or if the Browns were getting Punk'd, but apparently discussions actually took place.
Why San Fran would even consider a shakeup of that magnitude is peculiar. Presumably, the No. 2 pick would have to have been on the table, but what does this draft offer that would have put San Fran over the hunt in 2014? The answer is nothing. Cleveland is the cradle of sports loserdom. The 49ers are one of the proudest franchises in all of pro sports. It's sunny in California year-round and a new stadium that doesn't have freezing winds swirling through has been constructed in Santa Clara for the Niners.
The only explanation is that Harbaugh is so infatuated with his $8 Docker khakis that he has a genuine distaste for the name of Levi's Stadium. However, we already have Harbaugh on records discussing how miserable Candlestick was when he attended games there in his childhood so that can't be it.
Even though, Harbaugh hasn't received the extension and $3million raise he's been seeking for a year, this one just doesn't pass the smell test.
Browns CEO Joe Banner didn't find it odd when 49ers general manager Trent Baalke ended every call with Baba Booey?
It's not like this hasn't happened before to NFL general managers. Two years ago, pranksters used an old Dominos Pizza prank to deceive the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Bucs general managers into discussing free agency over a recorded line. Is it possible the Browns weren't actually negotiating with the San Francisco 49ers? Don't put it past them.