Jim Harbaugh to the Miami Dolphins gaining steam

It was ahead of the 2011 season that Jim Harbaugh seemed destined to become the Miami Dolphins’ next head coach after a tremendous run with the Stanford Cardinal.

We all know how that turned out. Harbaugh ended up taking the San Francisco 49ers’ job, leading the team to three NFC Championship Game and one Super Bowl appearance in four seasons.

Now, years removed from his departure in Northern California and after leading Michigan to the College Football Playoff, Harbaugh could be returning to the NFL.

Most of the focus was on the Las Vegas Raiders before they ultimately opted on Josh McDaniels. Over the past few days, rumors from the Twin Cities suggested that Jim Harbaugh could replace Mike Zimmer as the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach.

Not so fast.

We’re hearing multiple media reports Sunday afternoon linking Harbaugh to the Dolphins. It started out with a rumor from Mark Carman of FanSided indicating that Harbaugh will tell his Michigan players he’s leaving the Wolverines for South Beach here soon.

There’s now more concrete information on this courtesy of The Athletic’s Nick Baumgardner and Dolphins insider Armando Salguero.

This would be one of the biggest surprises of the coaching cycle. It was just earlier this month that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross pretty much threw out the idea that Harbaugh could be headed to Miami.

“I’m not going to be the person that takes Jim Harbaugh from the University of Michigan. I hope he stays there. He’s a great coach,” Ross told reporters earlier in January following the firing of Brian Flores, via NFL.com.

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Does Jim Harbaugh to the Miami Dolphins make sense?

Jim Harbaugh, Minnesota Vikings
Dec 31, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts from the sideline during the second half in the Orange Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

It must be noted that all of these rumors linking Harbaugh to NFL openings could be a ploy by his camp to get a raise from Michigan. Remember, Harbaugh took a pay cut following a down 2020 season to remain with the Wolverines. Now that the program is coming off a playoff appearance, he wants to be rewarded.

Even then, there seems to be a lot of speculation that Harbaugh wants to return to the NFL after his departure from the 49ers back in 2014.

Obviously, hiring Harbaugh would be a big coup for a Dolphins organization under the microscope following the shocking firing of Brian Flores. After putting up five wins in his debut campaign of 2019, Flores led the Fins to consecutive winning seasons. Unfortunately, he was not able to earn a playoff appearance during that span.

The lure of South Beach over Minnesota might be a determining factor for Harbaugh here. The finances could play a role, too. If he does return to the NFL, there’s every reason to believe that Harbaugh will end up being one of the highest-paid coaches in the league.

Related: Sportsnaut ranks Miami Dolphins head coach candidates

As for an on-field fit, Miami might actually be set up better to compete for a playoff spot moving forward. The team’s brass is sold on young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Pieces are in place throughout the roster.

In terms of the Vikings, there are some who believe they might look to rebuild following the firings of head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman.

Interestingly enough, Minnesota became more linked to Jim Harbaugh after the team hired Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to be its next general manager. Harbaugh and Adofo-Mensah have a history dating back to their days together with the aforementioned 49ers.

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