When it first became obvious Brady Hoke wouldn’t be back next year as head coach of the Michigan Wolverines, a report suggested that the folks at Ann Arbor were more interested in John Harbaugh (who didn’t go to Michigan) than Jim (who did).
Now, Michigan apparently has a keen interest in the soon-to-be-former 49ers coach.
Per multiple reports, Michigan has offered Harbaugh the job. The package leaked to the media would pay Harbaugh $8 million per year over six years.
That’s far more than Harbaugh currently makes in San Francisco, and far more than the 49ers had offered in failed negotiations on a new deal. The impasse arose, as one source with knowledge of the talks previously told PFT, because Harbaugh wanted to be paid like a Super Bowl-winning coach without, you know, winning a Super Bowl.
If the offer from Michigan, where it’s easy to finance a large coaching salary since the players get jack squat and free snacks, is real, he’d be paid like a Super Bowl-winning coach without winning a Super Bowl and without ever competing for one for as long as he’s at Michigan.
The leak and its origin suggest that Harbaugh’s agent hopes to use the offer as leverage in talks with interested NFL teams. If Michigan will pay $8 million per year, how much will the Raiders, Dolphins, or other interested team fork over? With the talent gap among teams as narrow as ever, a great coach can be the difference between mediocrity and a championship; great coaches at the NFL are worth far more than they currently get.
The possibility that Harbaugh will leave for Michigan also pressures Jed York and company to be very reasonable in any trade talks regarding Harbaugh. If he chooses to go back to college, the 49ers get nothing.
Then again, the 49ers may prefer that outcome, since they wouldn’t have to worry about Harbaugh finishing with another franchise that which he started in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, some have suggested that Harbaugh wouldn’t use his alma mater as leverage for a better NFL job. Why shouldn’t he? Harbaugh played football there at a high level. In return he got jack squat, without the free snacks.