The Michigan Wolverines and Jim Harbaugh could be headed for a contract standoff in the weeks and months to come.
Harbaugh would be entering the final season of his contract in 2021, but the two sides have had discussions dating back to before the 2020 season. The season itself, however, has hurt Harbaugh, with the Wolverines poised to finish a miserable 2-4.
Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports reported on “Big Noon Kickoff” that Harbaugh and Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel have begun “preliminary” talks on a contract extension. However, the school is seeking a lower base salary as part of the deal with significant incentives included.
Sources close to Harbaugh told Feldman that they’re not sure the coach’s “ego” would allow him to accept such a deal. It might ultimately come down to whether Harbaugh has options in the NFL that he could either take or use as leverage against Michigan in contract talks.
There is some talk that Harbaugh does have NFL interest. That could complicate the situation for Michigan if, as it appears, the school does want Harbaugh back. If the coach’s only realistic option is Michigan, he could be stuck taking a reduction on his $8 million annual salary.
Harbaugh has dismissed questions about his job status, and it’s clear the Wolverines won’t be firing him. However, it’s pretty clear there is at least some question about whether he’ll be back at Michigan in 2021.