AFC West rival hires Broncos 'top' candidate from the 2023 cycle as their new Head Coach

Top-tier College Football coach leaves Michigan and returns to the NFL, by signing with AFC West team.

Purdue v Michigan
Purdue v Michigan / Aaron J. Thornton/GettyImages

On Wednesday afternoon, some big news was announced. Jim Harbaugh leaves Michigan after nine seasons, for a second stint in the NFL, and with a Denver Broncos AFC West rival. To be specific, Harbaugh was hired to be the next Los Angeles Chargers head coach.

Harbaugh joins the NFL for the second time in his career, the second California team. Before Michigan, he was the 49ers head coach and now joins the Los Angeles Chargers. To be specific, the Chargers signed Harbaugh to a five-year deal.

During his playing career, Jim Harbaugh was a quarterback and played two seasons for the San Diego Chargers, actually located in Los Angeles. Now he will be the head coach of his former team. A full cycle that lands a top-tier candidate in the AFC West.

Jim has been a top-tier candidate in the past two head coach cycles, before signing with the Chargers in the third-consecutive cycle he has been a part of in the past years. In 2022, before hiring Kevin O'Connell, the Minnesota Vikings were close to hiring Harbaugh. In 2023, before trading for Sean Payton, the Denver Broncos had Harbaugh as a top-tier candidate, and were in serious talks.

When Harbaugh told Denver that he was coming back to Michigan, the Broncos traded for Sean Payton. Harbaugh spent one more year in college football with the Wolverines and won the National Championship. Multiple people believe that Harbaugh was Denver's number-one choice a bit over a year ago. Instead, the Broncos ended up trading with the New Orleans Saints for Sean Payton's rights. It is possible that the Denver Broncos wanted Jim over Sean back in 2023 because of the lack of draft capital they had ... the Broncos finished with an 8-9 win-loss record in their first season with Sean Payton.

Now Denver will have to face the Jim Harbaugh Chargers at least twice per season.