Things change quickly, and so does the mind of Jim Harbaugh. With his time with the San Francisco 49ers soon coming to an end (probably), suddenly joining Michigan and becoming their head coach doesn’t sound like high fantasy, and might actually become reality very soon.
An official offer has been made by Michigan to their former quarterback, which would make him the highest paid football coach in both the NFL and College, making $8.17 million a season. The deal is worth a total of $49 million for six years and right now Harbaugh, who still has two games left with the 49ers this season, not to mention one more year left on his contract, is considering it, a change for the better if you’re Michigan considering he wasn’t going to leave the NFL a few weeks ago.
What’s changed? The 49ers are out of the playoffs, and things seem to be falling apart quickly over there. Harbaugh has been entrenched in battles with the front office for over a year. There was no actual reason to fire him because of how well the team did. But ever since Harbaugh and the team didn’t come to an agreement about a contract extension he wanted, which included better pay for himself and his huge assistant staff, it felt like the end of the relationship is quite near.
Some thought Michigan should have deal with their head coaching vacancy sooner, because waiting for Harbaugh (assuming then the 49ers would be in the playoffs) meant a damage on their recruiting quality. Now, it seems Harbaugh might be available to say ‘yes’, if returning to college is indeed his decision, before the beginning of the new year. Nebraska and Florida didn’t wait long to get the coaches they wanted, but maybe waiting for the coach you really want is worth the time.
It’ll be interesting to see if Harbaugh and the 49ers actually wait for the season to be over when it comes to announcing his future or will it happen in the next few days. Ray McDonald has already been released for another alleged violation of the law, this time sexual assault. Suddenly, the 49ers don’t need McDonald on their team, and no one is standing up for him anymore. Maybe it has something to do with them being out of the playoff picture, and not with the ethics of the organization, which managed to fly under the radar during the early-season scandals.
Is Harbaugh the only candidate? No, but he’s the only one Michigan are focusing on right now. It’s not about him being a ‘Michigan man’ and his connections to the program, although that doesn’t hurt. Brady Hoke was a Michigan man through and through. Harbaugh is simply one of the best coaches out there, period. Les Miles might be a name other fans still think of, but he has declared himself out of the running, or at least until the Harbaugh situation gets cleared up.