After six weeks of tumult in Ann Arbor, including an NCAA investigation into Michigan for an illegal sign-stealing operation, a Big Ten championship and a College Football Playoff berth, Michigan and Jim Harbaugh are working on a five-year, $55 million contract extension, according to Richard Johnson of Sports Illustrated.
However, one hurdle remains.
According to Johnson, before a deal is finalized, Michigan wants Harbaugh to commit in writing that he will not pursue an NFL job for the duration of the new contract. The request comes after Harbaugh explored NFL options under previous contracts as the head coach at Michigan. He interviewed with the Minnesota Vikings after the 2021 season and was reportedly a candidate for the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts vacancies after 2022.
Harbaugh’s desire to depart for the NFL could be stronger after 2023 than it was in the previous two years, as the NCAA has yet to complete its investigation into Michigan and deliver potential penalties for the in-person advanced scouting operation the organization can prove occurred since staffer Connor Stalions was hired in 2021. According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic and FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff, Harbaugh could be suspended “for the bulk of the 2024 season” if he remains the Wolverines’ head coach.
Harbaugh, who coached the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-14 before taking the job at Michigan, would enter his 10th season as the head coach of his alma mater in 2024. Coming off of his three most successful seasons as head coach, Harbaugh would be looking to lead the Wolverines to a fourth consecutive win over Ohio State next fall, while the Buckeyes would look to drop Harbaugh’s record in The Game to 2-6.