There are many reported reasons why Jim Harbaugh wants to leave Michigan or the NFL this season. Whether it’s really his desire to win the Super Bowl, or he’s using NFL rumors as leverage with the Wolverines, plenty of explanations have been offered.
There may have been a combination of several factors that led Harbaugh to explore the NFL.
The Detroit Free Press ‘Michael Cohen published an article on Sunday in which he discusses Harbaugh’s flirting with the Vikings. He said that Harbaugh had a desire to win a Super Bowl; the coach’s perception that the older he is, the less likely he is to be hired by an NFL team; and possible disappointments with Michigan that all contribute to the imbalance.
But Cohen notably described Harbaugh’s contract as a “tipping point” that spurred the coach to the NFL.
Harbaugh is known to have shamelessly cut his contract in half after the 2-4 season in 2020 shortened the pandemic. Harbaugh clearly doesn’t care about the money, but the symbolism of the pay cut that shows: that Michigan has lost some of its faith that Harbaugh is an elite coach who deserves to be paid well.
Harbaugh gave away his multi-million dollar prize money last season to the Michigan sports department, which is proof that money isn’t his primary concern. However, the embarrassment of publicizing the pay cut was enough to preoccupy the coach that he felt his previous contract should have been reinstated.
Clearly, Michigan’s contract offer to adjust Harbaugh’s wages after a successful season didn’t go as far as the coach wanted. That’s when he started exploring the NFL, according to Cohen.
If that’s the case, then it looks like Harbaugh used NFL flirtations to help pull out the Michigan contract he wanted. That could also explain why in the middle of the meeting with the Vikings, something is said to have changed. Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel contacted Harbaugh with an improved contract offer, prompting Harbaugh to drop out of school? Cohen said Harbaugh is expected to sign a contract extension with Michigan soon.
What’s interesting is that Harbaugh clearly has a problem with the government in Michigan, and So does the former school offensive coordinator. Now, Michigan has Harbaugh back and needs to regroup for the 2022 season.