Jim Harbaugh recently signed a 5 year, $36.7 million contract with the Michigan Wolverines. That seems to have put aside a possible return to the NFL for the time being. Or has it?
This year, Harbaugh was very open to finding a head coaching position in the NFL. He even had an interview with the Minnesota Vikings. It would’ve been his first role in the NFL since leaving the 49ers after the 2014 season. While many people thought he would end up in the NFL for 2022, he ultimately decided to stick around with Michigan.
While a 5 year deal seems to have locked him up with the Wolverines for the time being, Ian Rapoport explained how that isn’t exactly the case.
How Jim Harbaugh could return to the NFL before his contract expires
Ian Rapoport appeared on a segment of ‘NFL Now’ where he was quoted saying “With college coach contracts, probably the most important thing is the buyout. For Harbaugh, he gets a nice salary but that’s not the important thing. It’s the buyout.”
Rapoport further added “Based on the terms of his deal, there’s a $3 million buyout in the first year and it decreases as the years go on. By the 4th year, it’s just under one million dollars. What this means is that there’s nothing to stop an NFL team from coming after Jim Harbaugh and hiring him. I know Harbaugh said he’s not gonna do this again but, contract wise there’s literally nothing to stop them.”
For you Michigan fans, Rapoport also added “If you’re a Michigan fan and you’re wondering how long Harbaugh is staying, this probably not a good sign.”
In terms of the likelihood of Jim Harbaugh returning to the NFL, it’s tough to say at this moment. But, the fact that he’s been open to a return shows he’ll be willing to commit to the role and NFL teams will like to have that security.
While Harbaugh is likely to remain in Ann Arbor for 2022, the way the coaching carousel goes around this year will be very telling for whether or not a team activates his buyout for 2023.