John Harbaugh could be available from the Baltimore Ravens for any team interested in trading for him in the next few weeks. History suggests a deal like that would be well worth it.
History also suggests the cost could be a small fortune, which could be hard to stomach for the Jets.
There have been five trades for head coaches in the modern era of the NFL -- three of them, oddly, involving the Jets -- and three of those cost the acquiring team a first-round pick and more. Parting with a first-round pick would be crazy for a Jets team in the beginning stages of a rebuilding project, especially when that pick is No. 3 overall. But it's hard to imagine the Ravens would accept anything less.
Still, it's also worth remembering that four of those five deals for head coaches were huge successes. Bill Belichick (traded from the Jets to the Patriots in 2000) turned his new franchise into a dynasty. John Gruden (traded from the Raiders to the Bucs in 2002) quickly won a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay. Mike Holmgren (traded from the Packers to the Seahawks in 1999) led Seattle to its first Super Bowl. And Bill Parcells (traded from the Patriots to the Jets in 1997) led the Jets to the AFC championship game.
The only deal that didn't work out was when Herm Edwards was traded in 2006 from the Jets to Kansas City. He got the Chiefs to the playoffs in his first season, then went 6-26 in his final two years. Of course, you get what you pay for: The Chiefs only had to cough up a fourth-round pick.
So should the Jets take the chance and make a run at the 56-year-old Harbaugh, who has gone 104-72 in 11 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens? He's taken the Ravens to the playoffs seven times in those seasons and won the Super Bowl once. And until the Ravens' loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, every trip to the playoffs had resulted in at least one win.
If the price was right, sure. But the third overall pick this year is just far too valuable for the Jets. And remember, they don't have a second-rounder this year. They need so much help at key positions like offensive line, edge rusher and receiver, they can't go into the 2019 draft without a pick until Round 3.
Also, without that first-round pick, the Jets' job is a lot less valuable. They may have $100 million or so in salary cap space and a franchise quarterback, but they don't have a lot of talent surrounding Sam Darnold. Part of the lure for any coach would be the idea of getting a special player third overall.
Besides, even though it worked out in the past, those five head coach trades all had special circumstances, and four of them involved coaches who have been giants in their field. Sure, if the Jets could get the next Belichick or Parcells, no price would be too high. But does that describe Harbaugh? As good a coach as he is, he might not be in that tier.
Chances are the Jets won't do it. Many think the Miami Dolphins are more likely to make a run. But just in case the Jets do, here's a look at the five previous deals for NFL coaches. They can take some lessons from their own past:
Bill Parcells traded from Patriots to Jets (1997)
The Jets tried to swipe Parcells from the Pats, who wouldn't release him from his contract. So the Jets instead hired Bill Belichick and named Parcells as a consultant. Eventually, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue had to intervene and broker a deal that allowed Parcells to coach the Jets in return for third- and fourth-round picks in '97, a second-rounder in '98, a first-rounder in '99 and a donation to a Patriots charity. Two years later, Parcells led the Jets to a 12-4 record and a trip to the AFC championship. In three years, he went 29-19 overall.
Mike Holmgren traded from Packers to Seahawks (1999)
This was less of a trade and more of compensation. After going 75-37 in Green Bay and leading the Packers to the playoffs in each of his seven seasons (including three straight NFC championships, back-to-back Super Bowls and one championship), he signed a monster deal with the Seahawks. He was still under contract with the Packers, but he had a clause in his deal that allowed him to leave if a team named him the GM too. Seattle gave him control of football operations and sent a second-round pick to the Packers in return. It took seven years, but he led the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl. He also led them to the playoffs six times in 10 years.
Bill Belichick traded from Jets to Patriots (2000)
One day after being named the Jets head coach, Belichick infamously wrote, "I resign as HC of the NYJ" on a napkin and tried to force his way to New England. Not only did the NFL commissioner have to get involved, but lawsuits were filed. Eventually, the Jets agreed to let Belichick go north in return for a first-rounder in 2000, a fourth-rounder in 2001 and a seventh-rounder in 2002. The Patriots got Belichick plus a fifth-rounder in '01 and a seventh-rounder in '02 for the Jets. Eight Super Bowl appearances and five Super Bowl championships later, the Patriots in hindsight probably would've given up a lot more.
Jon Gruden traded from Raiders to Buccaneers (2002)
Gruden was one of the hottest young coaches in the league, coming off two straight playoff appearances with the Raiders, but then-Raiders owner Al Davis was reportedly unhappy with him after a 10-6 season in 2001. At first, he rebuffed the Bucs' offer for Gruden, though. But after a Bucs deal to hire Bill Parcells fell through, they tried again. It took two first-round picks (in 2002 and '03), two second-round picks ('02 and '04) and cash to make it happen. And the payoff was instant. In his first year, Gruden led the Bucs to their first (and only) Super Bowl title.
Herm Edwards traded from Jets to Chiefs (2006)
The Chiefs wanted Edwards to succeed the retiring Dick Vermeil, but the talks got ugly when the Jets accused them of tampering. It got uglier when Edwards, coming off a 4-12 season, tried to use the Chiefs' interest to get a raise from the Jets. By the end of it, everyone wanted Edwards in K.C., and the Jets only took a fourth-round pick in return. Edwards went 9-7 in his first season and got the Chiefs to the playoffs. Then he lost 26 of his last 32 games.