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Opportunity for Jim Harbaugh to Join Either Falcons or Michigan Still on the Table

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As of Wednesday morning, the Chargers appear to be the favorites to employ Jim Harbaugh in 2024. But the two other teams interested in the national championship-winning head coach are not bowing out.

A return to Michigan remains in play for the nine-year Wolverines leader, according to the Washington Post’s Mark Maske. Harbaugh interviewed for NFL jobs in each of the previous two offseasons before ultimately staying at Michigan. The Big Ten program and its successful but polarizing HC have been in discussions on an extension for several weeks, but Harbaugh-Chargers talks have overshadowed Michigan negotiations.

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The prospect of Harbaugh again backtracking and staying in Ann Arbor is viewed as more remote this time around, Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline notes. The Wolverines are believed to have made multiple extension offers to Harbaugh, one a 10-year, $125MM deal. The latest update here included Harbaugh seeking several provisions in the deal, one believed to be assurance the Wolverines would not fire him if an NCAA suspension in connection with Michigan’s sign-stealing scandal comes to pass. The Chargers would need to pay Michigan $1.5MM to hire Harbaugh; the school is also attempting to bump that number to $4MM.

Already suspended twice in 2023, Harbaugh could face a harsher punishment from the NCAA for his alleged role in the scandal. He has since hired an agent and met with two teams. This all points to the former 49ers HC determining 2024 to be his NFL return window. It is not decided Los Angeles will be the place for it, though the Bolts remain in the lead. Harbaugh’s second Bolts interview is believed to have produced an agreement on salary.

The Falcons have also attempted to set up a second Harbaugh meeting, and Pauline adds the fiery HC has family in Florida. The subject of Harbaugh’s family relocating is key here, per Pauline, though the former 49ers, Stanford and University of San Diego HC obviously has extensive ties in California. Harbaugh saw his final NFL action as a Chargers quarterback and began coaching on the then-Oakland Raiders’ staff soon after. But the Falcons are believed to be prioritizing experience this time around. They have interviewed Bill Belichick twice and are expected to meet with Mike Vrabel. The assumed Atlanta frontrunner, Belichick may be losing some steam as the sides discuss how a fit would work.

Harbaugh’s Chargers meetings have gone well, and Maske adds discussions are ongoing. One source informed Pauline the Harbaugh-to-L.A. scenario should be given a 90% chance to happen. The Chargers have begun their second round of GM interviews, likely with a Harbaugh pairing in mind. While we could be hours away from this hire coming to pass, the Bolts remain without a head coach for now.

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