Photo courtesy of Leon Halip – Getty Images
Jim Harbaugh told 247 Sports’ Sam Webb that he and the University of Michigan have reached a 5 year extension. While the details are not yet released, the source estimated it as a 5 year-$20 million deal with incentives that could bring him back to his initial $8 million per year salary.
If those are the correct amounts then this deal certainly makes sense financially for the university. Holding onto a Super Bowl runner-up coach for half of his initial signing seems like a no-brainer, that is until you look at why he’s so heavily discounted.
With a 48-13 record at the UofM, Harbaugh has suffered from a stark inability to beat teams when it matters. 6-10 against his rivals (OSU, MSU, and PSU) including a historically bad 0-5 record in The Game. Also 1-4 in his bowl matchups, many fans are fed up with Harbaugh’s big game tendencies.
His woes are not contained to the field, and the Wolverine’s recruiting gap with Ohio State has widened in ways that many don’t expect to ever flip back in Michigan’s favor.
This extension is exactly what was expected from Michigan’s administration, the job has lost a lot of its luster and this was the safest move possible. Top candidates such as Matt Campbell have expressed little to no interest in leaving their respective situations, meaning Harbaugh may very well have been the best option.
Fan reaction remains to be seen, but Harbaugh will need some signature victories in the coming years if he wants to return Michigan to the national stage and secure another extension come 2026.