Raiders Rumors: Jim Harbaugh Links Deemed 'Total Noise' by NFL Insider

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 19, 2022

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh yells during warm ups before the Orange Bowl NCAA College Football Playoff semifinal game against Georgia, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

While the possibility of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh returning to the NFL this offseason has been a talking point at times, some believe he is just using the rumors as leverage for a new contract.

Vic Tafur of The Athletic cited "one person close to the situation at Michigan" who suggested the rumors may be "hypothetical leverage" in such discussions with the Wolverines. An NFL source said any connections between Harbaugh and the Las Vegas Raiders are "total noise."

Frankly, the timing makes sense for Harbaugh to be using whatever he can to gain leverage for a new deal with Michigan.

He just completed his seventh season at the helm of the program and won the Big Ten title for the first time. He also defeated the archrival Ohio State Buckeyes for the first time as a head coach and made the College Football Playoff. It was by far his best season as a coach for his alma mater, and the Wolverines will surely want to keep him aboard if they can.

That Mel Tucker just agreed to a massive 10-year, $95 million contract with the rival Michigan State Spartans in November could also be of note as Harbaugh could see it as something of a benchmark during discussions with Michigan.

Yet the idea of Harbaugh coaching at the NFL level and finding success is anything but far-fetched considering his track record.

He coached the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2014 and went 44-19-1 while reaching the playoffs in three of his four years and advancing to the Super Bowl during the 2012 campaign.

The Raiders, who haven't won a playoff game since the 2002 season, would love to come even close to that level of sustained success. It wouldn't be a surprise if they were interested even though Rich Bisaccia guided them to the playoffs in an interim role after Jon Gruden resigned.

However, any connections between the franchise and Harbaugh may just be "noise" if he elects to stay with the Wolverines.