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Raiders head coaching candidate: Jim Harbaugh

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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The hottest name out there for the Raiders head coaching position is that of Jim Harbaugh. Reports have it that he will be fired by the 49ers within 48 hours of the end of the season. The other prevailing story is that Harbaugh may be ready to accept a contract to become the head coach at Michigan.

That leaves a couple days for Mark Davis to make a decision. Does he wait until Harbaugh is fired and take the chance that reports are true and Harbaugh heads to Michigan, or does he try to acquire Harbaugh in a trade for what would likely be a mid-round pick.

If he waits for Harbaugh to be fired, he would probably have to pony up a pretty sizable contract to outdo the number his agent... er... ‘sources' are saying Michigan offered which was 6 years, $48 million ($8 million per season).

Davis is reportedly ready to spend to get the guy he wants as head coach, which is something his father never did and it was part of the reason the team spent so long going through throw-away coaches.

Also competing for Harbaugh's services could be the Bears, who spent a first round pick on him in the 1987 draft and he spent the first seven years of his NFL career.

Working in the Raiders' favor is Harbaugh has spent the past eight years as a coach in the Bay Area - starting as head coach at Stanford and moving onto the 49ers. He was also the Raiders quarterbacks coach in 2002-03 during which time the Raiders went to the Super Bowl. He has spent the past 15 years of his coaching career in California.

Additionally, coming to the Raiders would allow him to opportunity to finish what he couldn't with the 49ers - win a Super Bowl. He reached the Super Bowl two seasons ago but lost to his brother's Raven's team.

Harbaugh had a great deal of success with the 49ers. The team was coming off a 6-10 season when he came on board. He led them to three-straight double digit win seasons with appearances in three-straight conference championship games with two different starting quarterbacks - Alex Smith and then Colin Kaepernick.

His exit from San Francisco is about much more than his team finishing the season with their first non-winning record in his tenure there. It's about a rocky relationship with management and ownership. It had prompted reports that the 49ers had discussed trading Harbaugh to Cleveland - in his home state of Ohio.

Mark Davis wanted to make a big splash in the team's next head coach. Harbaugh is a big a splash as it gets. At least it is being that Jon Gruden has committed to TV for at least the next few years.

Harbaugh is the number one priority. And if it happens, we will know within a few days of the end of the season which happens on Sunday.