After it looked like he was ready to return to the NFL just a few weeks ago, Jim Harbaugh signed a five-year, $36.7 million contract with the Michigan Wolverines on Thursday.
Jim Harbaugh Contract
While the deal keeps him with the Wolverines through the 2026 NCAA college football season, that hasn't stopped fans from looking ahead to a possible NFL return. After all, the buyout details of his contract prove how that's a legitimate possibility.
Jim Harbaugh Buyout
The cost of a buyout in Year 1 is $3 million and continues to shrink with each passing year. Insider Ian Rapoport points out that, under this buyout structure, "there is nothing to dissuade" any NFL team from pursuing Harbaugh's services down the line.
Many fans and experts thought that Harbaugh was going to coach the Minnesota Vikings in the 2022 NFL season. Even though the 58-year-old was excited about the opportunity, the Vikings didn't offer him a contract after their enthusiasm regarding the opportunity didn't match his.
The fallout from the situation led to Harbaugh's return to Michigan, with him saying that this was the "last time" he'd pursue an NFL head coaching gig. Obviously, you can never say never in sports and the door is clearly open for a return due to the buyout structure of his new contract.
Harbaugh had a 44-19-1 record as the San Francisco 49ers head coach from 2011 to 2014. His greatest achievement during that span came when he led the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII, where he lost to his brother, John, and the Baltimore Ravens.
Meanwhile, Harbaugh had a successful 2021 campaign with Michigan. While the Wolverines didn't win a National Championship, they did win the Big Ten Championship and Harbaugh even took home AP College Football Coach of the Year honors.
Nevertheless, a National Championship is still on Harbaugh's radar. If he's successful in that in the near future, perhaps he'll turn his attention back to a potential NFL return.
Michigan has +4000 odds (T-No. 6) to win the 2022-23 CFP National Championship, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
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Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.