Disagree - I've been following the details of the story on this one for 7-8 weeks, far longer than this story has been in the national media. The NFL insiders reporting the "no interest" were completely out of the loop and botched the story. The parameters of a deal have been in place since the beginning of December, and there was never a point where Harbaugh rejected them and they came back with a larger offer. They went big right from the start, but for weeks none of the NFL reporters took any of this seriously and failed to properly report on what was happening.
All of their sources were in NFL circles - mostly agents who presumed it was idiocy for a top NFL coach to lower himself by returning to the college game. For whatever reason, they either ignored or were unable to access the real story from insiders/boosters connected to the UM program. Had they done so, they would have seen a much different picture of what was going on behind the scenes. I was especially surprised that ESPN didn't get any good intel on this from their college insiders - those guys were kept pretty much silent on this and deferred everything to the NFL guys, who straight up blew it.
In terms of a failure to get the story right or speak to the correct sources, this miss by the NFL guys was on par with some of the missed reporting on the LeBron to Cleveland story and Peter King's debacle on the Ray Rice-Roger Goodell story, By the time the NFL guys even began to acknowledge that Harbaugh to UM might, maybe be sorta kinda possible (no more than 7-9 days ago tops), the full contract had already been put together and verbal assurances had been provided that Harbaugh was likely coming back to UM immediately following the conclusion of the NFL regular season.
The NFL reporting went into full spin control at that point, creating this narrative that it might only happen because UM had recently come back with a new offer. They then went on to feverishly speculate which NFL teams would be pushing Harbaugh up until he signed with UM, completely ignoring the fact that none of those teams could even start talking to Harbaugh without permission from SF, as he was still under contract with them and was scheduled to be for another year. Talking to him ahead of getting SF's permission would constitute tampering under NFL rules.
The "mutual parting" between SF and Harbaugh was part of the UM negotiation; I don't know what compensation they gave to SF but it must have been something of consequence to get SF to step aside immediately in the final hours of the NFL regular season before other teams could contact SF to discuss a potential trade for Harbaugh. None of that was reported on by ESPN/NFL Network either, but it was a critical step in the process.
Finally, for what it's worth, Mike Garofolo at Fox Sports tweeted out late last night that the Raiders offered Harbaugh more money than UM yesterday but he still turned it down.
Like I said, I don't deny the big offer helped get Harbaugh to UM and I am in no way ashamed that UM swung big with this. I'd rather have my teams insulted for spending like the Yankees than for being cheap like a small market baseball team. But if money was THE issue here, there was plenty of it to be made in the NFL, and with more potential options for Harbaugh to choose from.
As a fanatical college football base, I'm surprised some of you guys are so hung up on why he's coming back. Many of you claim to prefer college football to the NFL product anyway. This guy grew up living and breathing UM football in Ann Arbor as a kid and starred as a QB at his dream school in college. If any of you had done that for your dream school (OSU) and then 25 years later, that same school that you're nuts about as a fan and alumnus offers you good compensation to come back and coach the team.......I mean, wouldn't you do it in a heartbeat? I know I would. That's part of the emotional attachment to the college game that doesn't have the same equivalent in the NFL.