What began as an unrealistic dream might turn into reality very soon, as the incredible offer Michigan gave Jim Harbaugh to become their head coach might convince him to leave the San Francisco 49ers and the NFL in order to return and try and rebuild the football program of his alma mater.
A Twitter account reportedly close to Harbaugh’s agent reveals that it’s become a very tough decision for him to make. If initially it was quite clear that even if he won’t be staying with the San Francisco 49ers following his problems with the front office and eventually not making the playoffs for the first time since he began his tenure there, Michigan blasting everyone away with their six-year, $49 million offer has changed everything.
Harbaugh is quite confident no one is going to offer him that kind of money and control that he’s getting from the Wolverines, who are putting a lot of pressure on him to make a decision. Michigan have a time table and restrictions they don’t want to step out of, while Harbaugh is going to finish the season with the 49ers, which means two more games. There has been talk of him being traded somewhere else, but with just one year on his contract, that seems quite unlikely.
Harbaugh, with all of his glory from coaching Stanford, has just one good season with the Cardinal. It took him time to turn them into a BCS team, and maybe it had a lot to do with Andrew Luck arriving to be his quarterback. David Shaw, in terms of record, has been more successful, but it was Harbaugh that turned things around. Those are the expectations from him at Michigan: People won’t mind that he doesn’t stay around for too long as long as he turns the program around from the funk it has been in for almost a decade.
There are other considerations like his children who have been living in the Bay Area for years and go to school there, but above all seems to be two things: The fact that Michigan are offering him full control and are making every possible effort to show him they really want him, and obviously the financial benefits, which will make him the highest paid coach in College Football (yes, even more than Saban) and also more than anyone else in the NFL.
When the Michigan coaching search began, their ambition to hire Harbaugh seemed to be high fantasy: Someone who makes sense because he is a Michigan man, but the conditions and terms made it impossible. However, they haven’t moved on or done anything to indicate they’re interested in someone else. They’ll see their offer to Harbaugh through, and hopefully for them won’t have to start looking for other options without too much time left on their hands.