Report: Broncos recently met in person with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh

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Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh covets a Lombardi Trophy. But he apparently doesn’t think he’ll win one in Denver.

Via Adam Schefter of, Broncos CEO Greg Penner met in recent days with Harbaugh regarding the possibility of taking the job in Denver.

The in-person interview came after a video interview — and after Harbaugh announced that he’s staying in Ann Arbor for at least 2023.

The mere fact that Harbaugh took the meeting indicates that the door isn’t completely closed, despite his public comments. Otherwise, why waste everyone’s time?

Regardless, Harbaugh took the meeting. Which says plenty. The Broncos have moved on, which also says plenty.

Schefter downplays the meeting as due diligence. But no diligence is due if, as Harbaugh has said, he’s not leaving. So either the Broncos have decided (for now) not to offer Harbaugh the job, or Harbaugh has decided he doesn’t want it.

The development reconfirms that Harbaugh clearly has interest in returning to the NFL. Otherwise, he would have told Penner to not waste the time and money to fly from Colorado to Michigan.

And until the Broncos hire a coach, it remains theoretically possible that the Broncos will make Harbaugh an offer he doesn’t refuse. If, for example, they want 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and if Ryans prefers the Texans, the Broncos will need to move on to Plan B. Whoever Plan B may be.

It ultimately may be Plan C or D. The Broncos surely will try to characterize whoever gets the job as the first choice all along, for various reasons — including but not limited to persuading the fan base that they got the guy they wanted and not a fallback option.

22 responses to “Report: Broncos recently met in person with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh

  1. Pretty soon we will see Harbaugh assuring Michigan fans he’s not leaving while simultaneously being interviewed by an NFL team. Maybe he can put out short video from the owner’s office just to assure everyone he’s staying put

  2. Every Michigan fan just lost their mind! They know the second he signs the team will never match the record they have now and players are going to jump into the transfer protocol within minutes of Jim signing.

  3. Payton was option 1 but he turned them down because it will be very hard to win with Russell Wilson in that division. Option 2 is Harbaugh where both the Broncos and Harbaugh will be using each other. Broncos want a proven winner, make a splash, throw some $$$ around and give them the best chance to win out of the remaining candidates. Harbaugh has a sticky situation in Michigan with the violations, wants back in the NFL and is willing to take any job at this point. Makes sense for both parties to get a deal done.

  4. Guaranteed Harbaugh returns to the NFL sidelines in 2024 the Broncos took another swing at him and got strike two! With the NCAA likely handing Michigan some sort of punishment for the 24 seasons Jim will try to win it all in 2023 then when the punishment comes down he will bolt for the NFL just like Pete Carroll!

  5. The price tag on everything is going up. TV announcers are breaking the bank these days, and it keeps going up. It’s competition at work. The price tag for coaches is going up. First it was Gruden getting $10 million, and now everyone is making at least that. College coaches are getting the huge bucks, too. Coaches that are actual difference-makers are not easy to find. We’ve seen Harbaugh go to S.F. and turn that team completely around, overnight. Before that he had turned Stanford into a top team nationally. Now, he’s at Michigan and beating Ohio State the last two years, winning Big 10 titles, and playing in the college championship games. Like I said, the price tag for college coaches is going up, too. You don’t even need to negotiate. The check will be in the mail before you return home. They pay mediocre coaches $10 million. Harbaugh should be in the $25 million range. But also keep in mind that Denver might currently be negotiating with another coach, and that coach could be playing hardball. It doesn’t hurt the owner’s position to be able to get up from the negotiating table to interview Jim Harbaugh.

  6. I believe most candidates who are looking for a HC gig have some concerns with the QB position. You take that job and Wilson continues to regress and within two years you are fired and may never get a second chance because of it.

  7. There’s no appeal to this job. You’re tied to a declining, overpaid quarterback that people don’t like. You don’t have the top five pick you got for being one of the worst teams in the league because you traded it for that quarterback. You’re in the same division as Mahomes and Herbert. Nobody good wants this job.

  8. he would be a good fit in Denver…he runs the ball well and usually has a fairly strong defensive coordinator…but he knows Mahomes,Herbert,and possibly Brady are in the afc west…

  9. Michigan fans should be upset. This guy is back and forth so much. He’s a great coach but seems to be a not so great dude. Results matter however and he’s brought 3 separate teams back from irrelevance and made them contenders. The broncos could do much worse and Michigan too.

  10. Harbaugh wins wherever he goes…eventually. He even went to the Superbowl with freakin’ Kap! If he can do that with THAT guy at QB he could probably do it with Wilson, too. But he has a GREAT Michigan team coming back this year, with BOTH Corum AND Edwards, the best O-line in college football and a great QB, all “his” guys. Why wouldn’t he at least want to see what THIS team can do? Beating Ohio State three times in a row would be incredible and with this team he could do it! Compared to coaching a lousy Denver team? IF Michigan pays him what he’s worth this decision is a no brainer! Come on, Santa… break the bank and pay him. Harbaugh’s teams will keep the Big House FILLED with paying fans!!! 110,000 people spend a LOT of money!!! Pay him!!!!!!

  11. Harbaugh also turned them down for a second time in addition to speaking with them a second time. Not exactly a good sign if you want him there and you can only assume Denver offered top dollar. Denver is in a real mess

  12. He has as good a chance of getting a Lombardi coaching Michigan as he would in Denver. That should tell you all you need to know about where the next couple years in Denver are headed.

  13. I don’t think it’s unusual to meet with people you might want to work for later. Keep your future options open, especially if you think in the short run the situatuon isn’t great.

    Next year might present a different opportunity.

  14. I see the NFL owners going towards YOUTH with HC hiring….the days of retread old coaches are thankfully coming to an end . I like the young guys …Eagles, Miami, Vikings, Bengals all have bright young offensive minded guys.

  15. Everyone acting like no one wants the job. Y’all are exposing yourselves.

    Payton fell through because of the Saints asking price. Ryans fell through because the competing offer is from the team who drafted him and his wife’s hometown with a lot of family. Harbaugh fell through because Denver didn’t immediately make a deal, and then he committed to players. They’re not interested in anyone else, hence the restart.

    Not a single case of anyone “not wanting the job.” It’s also reported that Harbaugh said he’d want the Broncos job if he went to the NFL.

    What a toxic, false narrative.

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