Will Jim Harbaugh return to NFL? Michigan coach faces decision after national championship win

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s flirtations with the NFL are a staple of college football’s offseason news cycle. Now that the athletic calendar turns to the 2024 season following Michigan’s 34-13 win against Washington in Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship, those talks are sure to heat up once again. 

In fact, they’ve already started. Multiple teams have been making calls over the past few weeks to gather information about Harbaugh, according to NFL.com, who has updated potential staff lists while conducting evaluations of different openings.

It’s no surprise that professional teams would covet Harbaugh’s services. He has steadily built Michigan back into a powerhouse program with a 40-3 record over the past three years. The Wolverines haven’t lost a regular-season game since 2021, powering their way to three straight Big Ten titles while qualifying for each of the past three College Football Playoffs. 

He’s already a proven winner at the NFL level, too, setting himself apart from other college football coaches that might want to test the professional waters and even most NFL assistants that could get a look. As coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-14, Harbaugh compiled a 44-19 record with two NFC West titles and an appearance in Super Bowl 47. 

But after leading Michigan to the top of the mountain for the first time since the BCS era began, would Harbaugh actually leave now? Here’s a breakdown of the key factors at play in a pending decision. 

Contract extension on the table

Michigan is already working hard to retain Harbaugh’s services. The university has reportedly presented Harbaugh with a contract extension that would make him the highest-paid coach in the sport, promising a $125 million salary spread…


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