The University of Michigan has its sights set on Jim Harbaugh and they’re not giving up. After initially being rebuffed by the polarizing coach, the Wolverines have upped their offer to a six-year, $48MM deal, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (on Twitter).
A week ago, Harbaugh indicated to UM officials that he preferred to stay in the NFL, according to Rapoport, but this whopping offer might bring about a change of heart. It’s clear that the former Michigan quarterback is their top choice to take over for their coaching vacancy and with the 49ers out of the playoff picture, this could be the right time for them to strike. Harbaugh had previously indicated he wouldn’t give the Michigan gig serious consideration but a source tells Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter) that’s changed very recently.
Harbaugh is under contract through 2015 with San Francisco but there has been talk all season long that there are some in the front office and in the locker room that would like to see him go. Back in October, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported that there was “no way” the 49ers would bring Harbaugh back for that season; not even if he won the Super Bowl.
The offer is potentially bad news for the Raiders, who have been said to have Harbaugh at or near the top of their list. With Jon Gruden effectively contracted to stay in the Monday Night Football booth through 2021, the Raiders would be dipping into their secondary tier of coaching candidates.
The Michigan deal would carry an average annual value of $8MM. Assuming that $48MM total is base salary and does not include incentives, it would make him the highest paid coach in college football, edging out Nick Saban of Alabama, who is earning $7.16MM this season before bonuses (h/t USA Today Sports).