NFL rumors: Jim Harbaugh increasingly likely to stay at Michigan

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

It seems as though Jim Harbaugh will probably be staying at Michigan over going to the NFL.

Money talks, and that may be what keeps Jim Harbaugh at Michigan for the foreseeable future.

After leaving the San Francisco 49ers for his alma mater ahead of the 2015 college season, there was a sense we may not have seen the last of Harbaugh in the NFL. His older brother John is a Super Bowl-winning head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. The younger Harbaugh had a strong four-year run in the Bay Area before going back to the Midwest. It feels like he is a Michigan man.

The growing belief is Harbaugh will be staying at Michigan, almost certainly getting a bump in pay.

University president Santa Ono tweeted out on Thursday night that he and athletic director Warde Manuel have made great strides on convincing Harbaugh to stay.

The Michigan Football Twitter account relayed a message from Coach Harbaugh himself on this:

"“I am in full support of President Ono’s message to our fans and appreciate his support of me and the team.”"

Although this could have been a glorified leverage play all along, there are worse places to be coaching right now than in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

NFL rumors: Jim Harbaugh is increasingly likely to keep coaching at Michigan

Of the five jobs that are open in the NFL, how many of them are really good? The Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos have newish owners, while the Arizona Cardinals, the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts are mired in dysfunction. Harbaugh may be a Colts legend from his playing days, but the last few years seem to indicate owner Jim Irsay has fallen off his rocker.

Admittedly, it would have to take the right job to get Harbaugh to leave. There is no Minnesota Vikings gig available in this hiring cycle. Harbaugh would have taken that job had it been offered to him. He did bail on his team during the second National Signing Day to interview with Minnesota. For now, Harbaugh should expect a raise and prepare for a three-peat of the Big Ten next season.

Michigan is on a shortlist of teams who can realistically win a national title. The Wolverines draw Ohio State in The Big House this season. Not only that, but they will have key players like Blake Corum, Donovan Edwards and J.J. McCarthy returning, too. Assuming they win The Game over the Buckeyes, do not be shocked if Michigan is playing another juggernaut in next season’s Rose Bowl.

Ultimately, this really felt like a leverage play more than anything. Harbaugh had his salary drastically lowered after the disaster that was the 2020 college season. Fresh off back-to-back Big Ten titles, Harbaugh holds all the cards. What else is Michigan going to do if he walks? They can try to pry offensive coordinator Todd Monken away from Georgia, but would that even work?

One way or another, Harbaugh is about to be a very, very wealthy man heading into his 60s now.

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