Jim Harbaugh is definitely valuable enough to be worth some employment agita to the 49ers brass, and yes, he can provide an abundance of agitation.

Oh, and coaching the 49ers is probably worth working for less than market value to Harbaugh, at least for now.

That’s where the two sides find themselves with three games left in Harbaugh’s third 49ers regular season and a third trip to the postseason beckoning.

Common ground: Harbaugh wants to win a Super Bowl or two and become football’s highest paid coach (about $8 million a year) along the way and believes the 49ers are currently his best shot at it.


And the 49ers believe that Harbaugh is a great coach and they’ll be pleased to give him something close to that top dollar—up from his current $5 million salary–if he earns them another Lombardi Trophy.

It’s not hugs-and-joshing with this group, but that’s not Harbaugh’s working style, anyway.

Harbaugh likes to keep people guessing and his options open, which may wear a little thin occasionally with CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke.

But it’s how most successful coaches play it–if they’ve got leverage, why give it up?

It’s how they coach, it’s how they deal with their bosses, it’s why they win and it’s why they’re always edging their way to bigger and better deals.

You want a low-maintenance coaching contract situation? Bring back Mike Singletary.

Most recently, Harbaugh, as is his custom, has declined comment about speculation that the University of Texas could be willing to make him an offer worth upwards of $10 million a year if Mack Brown is ushered out.

Earlier, there were some indications that, before hiring Steve Sarkisian, USC might have had some unofficial contact with Harbaugh.

I’m told all of that speculation led York to check in with Harbaugh a few days ago to make sure the coach was still happy with the 49ers and focused on this season.

According to a source, Harbaugh told York that he wanted to be with the 49ers for as long as they wanted him, and York and Harbaugh generally agreed that there would be serious extension talks this offseason.

Does this mean the 49ers and Harbaugh will absolutely be together forever or even through 2015?

No, it just means that in the constant NFL push-pull, the 49ers top executives and Harbaugh cleared the air a little last week.