Rumors began circulating recently that Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the Michigan Wolverines, was considering leaving Ann Arbor, shocking the college football world. While the NCAA examines the Michigan Wolverines’ “SignalGate” controversy, head coach Jim Harbaugh has been without a contract renewal.
He has been in charge of the club since 2015. We take a look at the possible destinations of one of the sport’s most recognizable figures now that Harbaugh’s future is up in the air.
The Sign Stealing Scandal That Could Change Everything
It seemed clear just a few months ago that Harbaugh would get a long-term deal. Michigan may have struggled early in the season, but they finished strong and earned a playoff spot for the second year in a row, seemingly ensuring that Harbaugh would stay in Ann Arbor.
On the other hand, Michigan is allegedly under investigation by the NCAA for stealing the play signals of their opponents this season.
Though he denies any wrongdoing, Harbaugh faces the prospect of heavy punishment from the NCAA should they discover proof of his knowledge. We’ve seen coaches walk away from problems in the past, and Harbaugh has a way out if he thinks he’ll be punished since his contract is unclear.
This might be the last straw for a coach who has dabbled in the NFL before to give it another go.
Best NFL Fits for Harbaugh’s Return
If Harbaugh does go back to the NFL, these teams make the most sense:
With the interference of owner David Tepper, Harbaugh would have complete authority and a free hand with the finances. Since General Manager Scott Fitterer is expected to leave soon, Tepper may give Harbaugh the authority to mold the team according to his preferences.
Also, Harbaugh has some good components on the roster, so he could be able to put together a championship team fast.
Las Vegas Raiders
Owner Mark Davis would be more interested in Harbaugh’s wild swings than in making smart signings. Davis will find a way, even if it means getting creative with money, because he still owes Josh McDaniels contracts.
With the right coach, the Raiders’ roster can reach its full potential. Harbaugh would be granted the time and means he needed to realize his goals.
The Bears’ most pressing concern, which has been a string of coaching crises, would be quickly addressed by Harbaugh.
He would be in possession of a franchise quarterback and a blue-chip prospect if Justin Fields were to progress and the 2024 first overall pick arrived from Carolina. Moving back to the Midwest would also be a breeze.
New England Patriots
If Bill Belichick were to leave, Harbaugh would be a logical choice to replace him. With GM’s authority, he could mold the company anyway he wants.
All the boxes are checked by Harbaugh for a team that wants new blood but also values experience. The opportunity to spearhead such a legendary franchise may perhaps tempt him.
New York Jets
Thanks to Harbaugh, the Jets would finally be the formidable opponent they had hoped to be in 2022. Under Harbaugh’s direction, quarterback Zach Wilson, who has been underperforming under Robert Saleh, may finally reach his potential.
With rising stars like Sauce Gardner, Harbaugh could be able to achieve quick success if he can just get Wilson to open up. Reviving a struggling New York behemoth also has an undeniable allure.
The Road Ahead
Naturally, Harbaugh’s continued employment is also an option. Few things would surprise anyone about one of the most famous football coaches now that the NCAA investigation’s findings are on the horizon.
An enticing offer from the NFL might arrive if sanctions are imposed and Michigan loses faith in their head coach.
The Bottom Line
With Harbaugh at the helm, the 49ers have a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl. At over 60 years old, he still has time to make a comeback to the NFL.
Is football’s most erratic player about to take on another challenge, lured by the pros and troubled by his time at Ann Arbor? The destination of Harbaugh’s meandering path remains uncertain.