Jim Harbaugh’s next move could be to the NFL following national championship
The Michigan Wolverines were able to capture their first national championship since 1997 with a 34-13 win over Washington Monday night. With the college football season now in the books, all eyes are now on head coach Jim Harbaugh.
The head coach has been tied to the NFL for months now with rumors swirling that he could leave the Wolverines and return to the NFL. And winning the national championship game may fuel those rumors some more as Jim Harbaugh achieved what he wanted in Ann Arbor.
Following the game, the attention turned to Harbaugh on social media. With the Las Vegas Raiders, Washington Commanders, Los Angeles Chargers and Atlanta Falcons currently having openings, they could be the first to make the call.
Will Backus of CBS Sports wrote on Harbaugh’s situation on Monday night:
Harbaugh has a leg up on most other candidates. The NFL recently sent out an NFL team unless granted express permission from that team. Harbaugh is free to talk to whoever he wants without restriction now that Michigan’s 2023 season is over.for hiring head coaches. Among other changes, it prohibits in-person interviewing of coaches employed by an
Las Vegas, given its connections to Harbaugh, could have conversations with the Michigan coach, NFL.com reports. But that’s not all. Harbaugh’s name has also been linked with the Los Angeles Chargers since they decided to move on from Brandon Staley in mid-December.
The other thing to note is that Jim Harbaugh reportedly received a contract offer from the Wolverines which he has not accepted:
Sources told NFL.com last month that Harbaugh, who is under contract with Michigan through 2026, received a 10-year, $125 million contract offer from the school that would make him one of college football’s highest-paid coaches, but also would require him not to accept an NFL job for the 2024 season. If he does leave for the NFL, Harbaugh wouldn’t come cheap, with salaries for some top coaches now exceeding $17 million per year.
There are good options for Harbaugh right now including having Justin Herbert as his quarterback right away in Los Angeles. He could enter a rebuild scenario if he did pick Washington or Atlanta but the Commanders do have the No. 2 overall pick and will have the chance to land a top quarterback if they stick there.
Then there’s the Bears who hold No. 1 overall, a playoff-ready roster and a lot of cap space to work with this offseason. Plus, Harbaugh played in Chicago and has a lot of connections to the franchise.
Do the Chicago Bears make sense for Jim Harbaugh?
The Bears have been one of the teams connected to Jim Harbaugh despite still having a head coach in place. As of Monday night, Matt Eberflus is still employed and multiple reports suggest that the Bears will stick with him for at least another year.
However, Eberflus has yet to have his meeting with Bears ownership and front office members, which is expected at some point this week. There is a scenario out there where the team moves on and makes the splash hire to land Harbaugh but that requires some patience.
The Bears would first have to fire Eberflus, then go through the hiring process. If Jim Harbaugh does go to the NFL the process should begin very soon for him as he’s already hired an agent. It’s not impossible for the Bears to get something like this done but like mentioned above, there’s no indication that they will even move on from Eberflus at this point.
Still, Harbaugh feels like a name we should monitor until the Bears either commit to Eberflus publicly or Harbaugh is hired by another organization. Until then, the rumors will continue to fly and Jim Harbaugh will be at the center of those rumors even more.
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