Jim Harbaugh Rumors: Michigan, HC Have Had 'Productive' Contract Talks Amid NFL Buzz

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 18, 2022

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 31: Head Coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines looks on before the game against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Capital One Orange Bowl for the College Football Playoff semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium on December 31, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines and head football coach Jim Harbaugh have reportedly held "productive talks on a new deal" and a "competitive offer-package has been made," according to Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic. 

He added that some at the school "wonder if he's torn" about potential NFL interest and that he's "heard almost nothing to suggest Michigan hasn't met what he wants (the opposite in fact). Question remains: Where's he want to be?"

On Saturday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that Harbaugh is "watching and waiting to see whether a team with a reasonable ownership and general manager situation is interested in giving him an opportunity to continue [his] NFL career." 

He added that "Harbaugh wants to get back to the Super Bowl and win it."

Granted, college football head coaches are no strangers to generating buzz that they might be on the move during contract negotiations with their current schools. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book. 

But with seven head coaching vacancies at the NFL level this year—and Harbaugh finally accomplishing the goal of winning a Big Ten title after seven years at Michigan—it wouldn't be shocking to see him return to the pros. 

There are a number of intriguing openings available, from the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos to the Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears and New York Giants. The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a perpetual rebuild but do have young quarterback Trevor Lawrence in place, though their last foray into the coaching ranks with Urban Meyer ended in unmitigated disaster.

Art Stapleton @art_stapleton

Bisaccia did a great job, given the circumstances especially. <br>But NFL reality begs the question: How many days until the Raiders hire Jim Harbaugh?

Michael Fabiano @Michael_Fabiano

Jim Harbaugh to the Raiders seems destined to happen now, right? Imagine if it does, then they trade Derek Carr to Pittsburgh to face Jim’s brother John twice a year. Oh the drama! <br><br>We’ll see! <a href="https://t.co/1ehnybqSQs">pic.twitter.com/1ehnybqSQs</a>

As for Harbaugh, the 58-year-old spent four years as an NFL head coach for the San Francisco 49ers (2011-14), going 44-19-1 with three postseason berths and a Super Bowl appearance on his resume. He's also held multiple head coaching gigs at the college level at San Diego (2004-06) and Stanford (2007-10) alongside his time at Michigan. 

It's pretty simple. If Harbaugh decides he wants the NFL, he'll likely become the top candidate for multiple teams. And if he doesn't, his rumored interest is going to get him a nice raise in Ann Arbor.