NFL offers could tempt Jim Harbaugh to leave Michigan after accomplishing what he set out to do at his alma mater on Monday night.
Harbaugh’s option to stay includes a huge raise and incentive-laden contract with one big catch — it blocks him from further entertaining offers from NFL teams.
“He’s always going to be somebody I’m proud of who coached at the University of Michigan, who led this team,” athletic director Warde Manuel said Monday night. “And if he decides that he wants another opportunity to coach in the pros, then I’m going to be happy for him, sad for us.
We’re going to move on and find the next person to (coach). But I want him to stay at Michigan.
I’ve said it: I believed it three, four years ago when people wanted me to get rid of him. I didn’t because I believed it then and I believe it now.”
Harbaugh was twice suspended during the 2023 season but was on the sideline for more than half of Michigan’s record 15 wins and undefeated run to the program’s first national title since 1997.
“I just want to enjoy this. I just want to enjoy this,” Harbaugh said when asked if it was time to chase a Super Bowl.
Since agreeing to a pay cut to stay at Michigan three years ago, Harbaugh has gone beast mode.
Michigan is 40-3 since the 2020, COVID-shortened season and 89-25 as Wolverines’ coach.
Those are among the reasons NFL teams with head-coaching openings such as the Carolina Panthers, Washington Commanders, Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders are all showing some level of interest or intrigue around hiring Harbaugh. He’s also a proven NFL coach.
Harbaugh was 44-19-1 with the San Francisco 49ers, winning the NFC Championship before losing a Super Bowl matchup with his brother, John, and the Baltimore Ravens.
University of Michigan president Santa Ono said late Monday he’s hopeful Harbaugh will decide to stay.
“I’m doing everything I can,” he said. “I view him as a partner. I very much hope he stays.”