The 49ers signed the 35-year-old wide receiver to a one-year deal with a base salary of $1.75 million earlier this month. Moss could reach incentives that would raise his total earnings to $4 million, but that is all on him, according to Harbaugh.
"Randy's got the license and we feel he's got the ability to be a contributor in the National Football League with the San Francisco 49ers," Harbaugh said Wednesday at the NFL Annual Meeting, according to Scout.com. "It's that simple. We'll watch it all play out.
"The man has an opportunity to go compete, so I'm looking forward to watching it. I'd like to be a small part of it, selfishly. I'd like to see Randy put a stamp on his great NFL career, possibly a Hall of Fame career."
When Moss last graced a football field, as a member of the Tennessee Titans in 2010, he was forced to serve as a glorified decoy. In eight games, four as a starter, he caught six passes for 80 yards and zero touchdowns. That was a significant decline in production for Moss, who recorded 13 receptions and two touchdowns in four games with the Minnesota Vikings earlier in the year. It also was quite a departure for a wideout who scored three touchdowns in four games with the New England Patriots to begin that season.
Harbaugh obviously hopes the 49ers have the Moss of old, not an old Moss.
"We feel it's a good move for us, and we're excited to have Randy on our team," Harbaugh said. "Our dealings with him, our research, we feel that the merits outweigh the risks. I'm looking forward to coaching him."
Despite Moss' lack of production in Tennessee, ex-Titans coach Jeff Fisher has gone on record as saying the receiver was a model citizen and practice participant. But Harbaugh isn't concerned with Moss' past, only what happens in the future.
"What's going to tell the whole story is from now, the offseason, through training camp, those day-to-day interactions, how he competes on the field. That's going to determine the reality," said Harbaugh, who added: "What your perception is right now or what Bill Belichick's perception of him was or a different coach is really irrelevant right now. The reality is, it's going to play out over the next six months and into the season."