Jim Harbaugh to the Denver Broncos more than just smoke at this point
Are we seeing Jim Harbaugh to the Denver Broncos gaining some serious steam right now? What once felt like a dream scenario for the Broncos to land the former 49ers and current Michigan Wolverines head coach appears to have been given a violent shove into the “realistic” domain. The Broncos won’t be the only team vying for Harbaugh’s services should he choose to leave Michigan and join the NFL, but they can make as aggressive or more aggressive of an offer than just about any other team.
After Michigan was booted from the College Football Playoff by TCU, questions have now risen about Harbaugh’s future at Michigan. He has just a $3 million buyout of his current contract with the Wolverines, and this is typically the time of year when you see established college coaches get extensions.
But for Harbaugh, the flirtation with the NFL has been going on for a bit too long. He interviewed for the Vikings’ vacancy last year but ultimately returned to Michigan. Now, reports indicate that he would leave Michigan if offered a coaching job in the NFL.
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Well, getting an offer shouldn’t be tough for Harbaugh. There have been rumors about his potential return to the NFL for years now. This is bordering on an annual discussion at this point. While it’s hard to believe that Harbaugh would leave Michigan based on the fact that he has gone back there after strong rumors about a return to the NFL in the past, there’s plenty of smoke directly relating the Denver Broncos and Jim Harbaugh’s potential return to the NFL.
So, Harbaugh reportedly would go to the NFL if he gets an offer. The Denver Broncos are reportedly the first team to inform Harbaugh that they would like to at least talk to him about their head coaching vacancy (at least, in 2023). You’re seeing how the pieces are lining up here?
Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, either. There are hurdles to be jumped through and there are certainly no certainties when it comes to the ever-churning rumor mill of the NFL. But with the Denver Broncos, Harbaugh already has a variety of connections.
One of the primary connections is with a member of the Walton-Penner ownership group, Condoleezza Rice. Rice has longstanding ties to Stanford University where she’s been part of recruiting players to play for the Cardinal as well as part of their recent head coach search committee. Her voice could loom large as she’s had connections with Jim Harbaugh through the years during his time at Stanford as well as Michigan, where she was an honorary captain for a game as recently as October 2019.
You also have to factor that Peyton Manning’s voice will likely be heard throughout this head coaching search, and Manning was recruited to play for the 49ers by Jim Harbaugh back in the 2012 offseason.
Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero was also an assistant once upon a time on Harbaugh’s staff with the 49ers and would be a rather seamless fit to stay on as defensive coordinator if Harbaugh were brought in.
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While some of this is pure speculation bordering on wishful thinking, there are ties to Harbaugh in Denver and there’s a lot of money to be made. Reports over the weekend indicated that the Broncos ownership group will be “swinging big” at this head coaching hire. Harbaugh would undoubtedly be a huge swing for the fences.