If the Michigan Wolverines fail to land San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, it won’t be for a lack of trying.
According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Michigan has offered the embattled head coach a six-year, $48 million contract.
If Harbaugh were to agree to go to Ann Arbor, he’d automatically become the nation’s highest-paid head coach, besting the $7.16 million that Alabama head coach Nick Saban earns on an annual basis.
While 2014 has been a complete disaster for Harbaugh and the 49ers, his success in such a short time in the NFL cannot be discounted. The head man boasts the fifth-highest winning percentage on NFL history (minimum 60 games coached).
And it’s not a lack of success that has Harbaugh at odds with San Francisco’s brass. Numerous reports since the start of the season have indicated that he doesn’t get along with the brass in Santa Clara, including general manager Trent Baalke and CEO Jed York.
While Harbaugh still has a year remaining on his deal, it’s almost a foregone conclusion at this point that he will be moving on from San Francisco after coaching the team’s final two regular season games.
As it relates to Michigan, this program needs someone (anyone) to come in and rebuild a program that has fallen on hard times recently. Since finishing 11-2 and winning the Sugar Bowl in 2011, Brady Hoke’s first season, Michigan is just 20-18. It finished the 2014 campaign with a 5-7 record, missing out on a bowl bid for just the third time since 1974.
Harbaugh, who is a Michigan alum, has been linked to the program over the years. Prior to hiring the recently fired Brady Hoke in 2011, Michigan had Harbaugh atop its head coaching list before he decided to move to the NFL with the 49ers.
It now remains to be seen whether Harbaugh would choose college football over the NFL. If the 49ers do decide to part way with the head coach, he will be in high demand. And as someone who has seen tremendous success at the highest level football has to offer, it would be odd for Harbaugh to take what has to be considered to be a demotion.
The Oakland Raiders, who would likely have to work out a trade with San Francisco for Harbaugh, have been linked to the head coach in recent weeks. He coached for Oakland in the past and might find that situation to be more attractive than returning home to Michigan. It’s also important to note that Harbaugh’s wife is said to prefer remaining on the west coast.
There is also a possibility that this information was released by Harbaugh’s camp in order to up the offers, potentially even from San Francisco, that he will receive following the season.
In any event, we should have a resolution to what has become a huge drama regarding Harbaugh and the 49ers in the coming weeks.
At the very least, Michigan might have just set the price tag for the successful head coach.
Photo: NBC Sports