JUST IN: Report Surfaces About Harbaugh, Michigan Contract Negotiations
Another day, another layer to the Jim Harbaugh/NFL saga. According to a report that surfaced on Wednesday, Harbaugh was set to sign a contract extension with Michigan this week that would have made him one of the highest paid coaches in the Big Ten conference. And then, for some reason, things fell through – although it’s not entirely clear what went wrong. What is clear is that there does seem to be some disconnect between Harbaugh and U-M Athletic Director Warde Manuel, one that is resulting in the process becoming far more lengthy and difficult than necessary.
Here are a few excerpts from the report:
Post Ohio State communications indicated to Jim he would be highest paid coach in Big Ten. Have the largest assistant pool salary. Lots of NIL support and support from University for the program.
Getting to the contract. The first contract offer to Jim was a raise in base salary but not high enough to meet Big Ten peers and did not increase assistant coach salary pool and included a large buyout. The notice of allegations from the NCAA were well known, but after the AD was told they were coming anytime, Warde changed his tune and offered that contract. Harbaugh balked at it and felt he wasn’t wanted by everyone at the University like he was in 2015. He also doubted the Universities support of him specifically the AD. As a result he hired an agent and started communicating with the NFL as a backup. The details of the first contract were about 8.1 million base with incentives that could get him up to 11 million. Assistant coach pool was 7.1 million with incentives making it get close to 8.1 million. Buyout for coach was around 9 million.
Now some time has passed and President Ono gets involved. Only then does Warde get moving more. New offer was made with a lower buyout (5 million), base around 9.5 million and incentives getting him to 12 or 13 million, an increased assistant pool salary of around 7.7 million and incentives getting to close to 9 million. Ono personally gave Jim support against the NCAA. Things were trending in right direction and contract was going to be signed. But lack of support from Warde and his antics caused Harbaugh to pause and look at Plan B just in case.
It’s worth noting that this “report” was pulled from a message board and provided to the public by a prominent U-M alum with a direct connection to Jim Harbaugh. Although the validity of the report is still in question, the details included – along with the individual who shared them to the public – lends some credibility to the information provided.
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So that’s where things reportedly stand with Harbaugh and Michigan. Overall, it appears as though he’s fine with the latest contract offer – but still wants more support when it comes to pending NCAA violations, NIL and more. While an NFL return is still very much a real possibility for Harbaugh, the report seems to suggest that it is little more than a negotiating tactic to get more out of Michigan.
Of course, there is the fact that Harbaugh is still under his current contract with the University of Michigan. Technically speaking, Warde Manuel isn’t under any obligation to change the terms of the five-year deal that Harbaugh had already signed last year – even if it means potentially losing him to the NFL.
Either way, it will be interesting to see how all of this plays out in the coming days.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.