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Michigan Football: Is Jim Harbaugh Going to Jump Ship to the NFL?

Coach Jim Harbaugh 2018

There has been a lot of talk around various sports analysts headed by Chris Carter that Jim Harbaugh is on his way out in Ann Arbor and wants to get back into the NFL with the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers without a leader at the helm. Is Harbaugh even intrigued?


When people think of Michigan in sports, Jim Harbaugh is the first name that comes to mind. He is the face of the entire university’s sports programs. His arrival has brought more media attention and money than any other coach in Michigan’s history.

Harbaugh also has complete control of the football program in every sense of the word from players, coaches and schematics. If he leaves Michigan and heads back to the NFL, he would release that control and have to deal with a general manager helping him pick players in the draft and think more along the lines of finances because the NFL is a business at the end of the day. It’s would not just be about coaching football anymore, which Harbaugh is about.


Money talks and influences decisions. Coach Harbaugh has seven-year, $52.1 million dollar contract, with a base pay of $7 million dollars a year. For him to even consider leaving Michigan, he would have to be offered somewhere around $10 to $12 million a year in the NFL, which no NFL organization is going to offer him. He will not leave Michigan for a lateral move financially.

Another factor is, if he beats Michigan State and Ohio State next year at home, he will get paid even more and get a life-time contract at Michigan to allow him to conclude his coaching career in Ann Arbor.


Coach Jim Harbaugh 2018
Image courtesy of Bleacher Report

Anyone that follows Michigan football understands that Harbaugh is a weird and interesting man. His style of coaching and his unique and demanding personality traits do not fit the NFL business style. Though his players in the 49ers’ organization loved having him as their coach, upper management had a hard time dealing with how he did things, so they let him go. And to this day, they have not recovered after letting him go. Ann Arbor is thankful for 49ers organization’s mess up by allowing him to walk away from their franchise.

Cleveland Browns

Coach Jim Harbaugh 2018
Image courtesy of Business Finder

A young team in Cleveland is attractive with a rookie quarterback in Baker Mayfield who has shown glimpses of how good he can be with the variety of talent around him like running back, Nick Chubb, wide receiver, Jarvis Landry and tight end, David Njoku. 

Harbaugh has proven to be successful, too, with mobile quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick with their ability to use their athleticism in the run game and extend plays when the pocket breaks down.  After years of trying to find a franchise quarterback, the Browns’ found it in Mayfield and are on the rise as an organization.

With that said, the job will be taken in the near future by other candidates that at truly interested in the position. Former head coach of the Green Bay Packers, Mike McCarthy is in the hunt for it as well as former Arizona Cardinals head coach, Bruce Arians.

Anyone that thinks Urban Meyer after just “retiring” from football is going to jump ship and go to the NFL this year is far from reality. He is going to not coach next year. He’ll be a college commentator once again for a year or two while he gets his health taken cared of, then land in either USC or Notre Dame when Brian Kelly takes his shot at the NFL.

Current head coach at Oklahoma, Lincoln Riley, would be more likely to land in Cleveland than Urban Meyer because he knows how to win with Baker Mayfield. No matter if Oklahoma runs the table and wins the national championship, or gets trounced by Alabama in the news few weeks, Riley will stay put in Sooner country, and Mike McCarthy will be the next head coach for the Browns’ organization.

Green Bay Packers

Coach Jim Harbaugh 2018
Image courtesy of WTMJ.COM

Anyone can understand some type of temptation to coach in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers at their disposal at quarterback. Regardless, Jim Harbaugh is not going to Green Bay. Harbaugh and Rodgers are not compatible with Harbaugh’s west coast, control the clock, ground and pound type of scheme. Rodgers needs to throw the ball 40 times a game with just enough support in the running game to keep a defense honest.

It is more likely, depending on the season unfolds in Baltimore, his brother, John Harbaugh, might be looking for a new home, and Green Bay could be that next destination in a heartbeat with his overall successful track record.

People are thinking current offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, will leave New England and take the job. Why do you think he accepted the Indianapolis Colts job then changed his mind almost within 24 hours? The Patriots’ organization plan on giving him the keys when Belichick retires. I don’t expect to see McDaniels leaving New England anytime soon.

If the money is right, Lincoln Riley, an offensive genius, could land in Green Bay. Green Bay needs an offensive-minded head coach for Rodgers. Riley fits that mold. With that said, don’t expect to see Riley take the job, but it is more realistic than the Cleveland job. Only time will tell what happens in Green Bay.

One thing is for sure, Jim Harbaugh is staying in Ann Arbor for at least the 2019 season.


Featured image courtesy of USA TODAY FTW

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