Current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has been close to returning to the NFL for years now, and it looks like this could be the year he makes the jump. It seemed like Harbaugh was about to jump back into the NFL in 2023. The Denver Broncos seemed to have a ton of interest, and their new Walmart ownership group apparently heavily pursued him.
Harbaugh elected to stay at Michigan, and his current Wolverines team certainly has a shot to win a national championship. There's also this weird sign-stealing scandal that is now over Harbaugh's head. I won't get deep into that scandal, but I think it now being a thing could be a driving factor in Harbaugh finally making the jump back to the NFL.
And as he approaches his 60s, he's running out of time. This might be the last chance for Jim Harbaugh to make the jump back to the NFL, where he was a head coach from 2011-2014 with the San Francisco 49ers. He compiled a 44-19-1 record and a 5-3 playoff record with the team, losing to his brother, John Harbaugh, in the Super Bowl in 2012.
Harbaugh has had success as a head coach wherever he's gone, so I don't think any team would have any reservations about making him their new head coach. Well, luckily for Harbaugh, I think he could potentially have his choice, and in my opinion, all of the following teams could have openings this coming offseason, and we'll include the Las Vegas Raiders and Carolina Panthers, who have already fired their head coaches:
-Las Vegas Raiders
-Los Angeles Chargers
-New England Patriots
-New Orleans Saints
-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I do believe that all of these teams could or already do have a head coach opening. Jim Harbaugh might end up doing eight different interviews at the NFL level if he wants to make the jump. Well, if these are all of the openings, which one is the most appealing? To me, it's obvious. The Buffalo Bills might make the most sense for Harbaugh, as he'd have a franchise QB in the building with an adequate offensive line and a solid defense.
I also think Jim Harbaugh and the Buffalo Bills' hard-nosed culture match up well, so this could be a team that has instant success. Unless the Bills make a deep playoff run, I think they end up moving on from their current head coach, Sean McDermott, who seems to have hit his peak with the team. Jim Harbaugh may also be one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL if he makes the jump.
According to an article in apnews.com, Harbaugh has a base salary of $7.63 million with another $3 million available in incentives. He could easily double that amount and probably get close to $20 million per season at the NFL level, depending on the team he'd choose. Honestly, Jim Harbaugh making a jump back into the NFL after a decade out of it makes a ton of sense in 2024.