Now more than two weeks removed from the Ravens press release proclaiming they were "working on an extension with John Harbaugh," the team is yet to have any dialogue with the Super Bowl winning coach about a new contract, doing nothing to quash the interest of other NFL teams.
While Harbaugh has a contract for 2019, the Ravens have shown no inclination to address the significant issues that remain unsettled between the sides and there remains nothing close to a guarantee that the coveted coach will be in Baltimore beyond that lame-duck season, sources said. This situation is being watched closely in other NFL front offices, even with the Ravens winning the AFC North and still in the playoffs, with the Buccaneers and Dolphins among the teams mulling a potential trade for the coach next week should the Ravens' season end.
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There is a strong sentiment around the league that several teams are slow-playing their head-coaching searches, waiting to see if Harbaugh's future comes to a head early next week. If the Ravens do not quickly come to an extension – needing to sort out not only the terms of a mega-contract, but also their organizational hierarchy, with a rookie general manager, Eric DeCosta, slated to take over for Ozzie Newsome in 2019 – there will be trade options. Traditionally, Ravens coaches have reported to the general manager, but it is well known that other NFL teams would likely be willing to give a coach of Harbaugh's stature a direct line to ownership and significant sway over personnel decisions.
And, given his abundant leverage in this situation and potential demand on the open market in 2020, the Ravens run a massive risk of losing Harbaugh a year from now if he does in fact coach out a lame-duck year. Pete Carroll's recent extension with the Seahawks, worth $11M-annually, has sent shock waves through the coaching community. Carroll, like Harbaugh, has one Lombardi Trophy and has reached the playoffs seven times with his current team.
When these sides actually do begin to sort through this process, the rest of the NFL will be paying close attention.