"Multiple league sources" tell Profootballtalk the Browns nearly acquired 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh in a trade before hiring Mike Pettine to replace Rob Chudzinski.
That would qualify as a bombshell. Per PFT, a deal that would have sent "multiple" draft picks to San Francisco was "in place" before Harbaugh decided he wanted to remain with the 49ers. If true, it would be a sign that tension between Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke is worse than previously reported, and that extension talks have been going far from smoothly. Of course, Cleveland's interest could have been the impetus for the sides to get serious about reaching a new deal. PFT reported last week that the 49ers are hoping to extend Harbs' deal this offseason. He's currently signed through 2015. It's a fittingly-bizarre capper to the Browns' magical mystery tour of a coaching search.