Jim Harbaugh sends obvious message to Chargers amid head coaching search

2023 Big Ten Championship - Iowa v Michigan
2023 Big Ten Championship - Iowa v Michigan / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

The LA Chargers cut ties with Brandon Staley before the end of the 2023 season to get a head-start on the head coaching search. Los Angeles won't be able to officially interview candidates until the season ends but the Spanos family can at least come up with a wish list of candidates.

Fans are hoping that Jim Harbaugh tops that wish list for the Spanos family. Harbaugh has flirted with a return to the NFL for years and reportedly has an affinity for quarterback Justin Herbert. At 60 years old, this might be the last chance for Harbaugh to make the jump to the NFL and there hasn't been a job as good as this Chargers job that has opened in recent years.

Harbaugh's services won't come cheap, though, and unlike previous years, the Spanos family may not be operating on a budget. Harbaugh and his camp know this, and the sought-after head coach is seemingly taking advantage. One day after the Chargers lost with interim head coach Giff Smith, a very interesting Harbaugh report emerged.

Jim Harbaugh sends obvious message to Chargers

Ian Rapoport reported that Michigan offered Harbaugh a 10-year, $125 million extension that would keep him from jumping to the NFL in 2024. This comes just days after the Chargers were reported to be interested in Harbaugh (which was obvious) and it is not hard to see what is happening.

Fans have to think about why these things are reported and it is clear that this is coming from Harbaugh's camp to put pressure on both sides. Harbaugh wants Michigan to be desperate and the Chargers to be desperate. That way, he is the biggest winner and takes home a huge payday.

So what exactly is the message that Harbaugh is sending to the Chargers? That Michigan is willing to open the checkbook, include an option in his deal to keep him from the Chargers, and to sign him to a long-term deal.

So how can the Chargers counter? Well, it is quite simple. To start off, the Chargers know the price for Harbaugh. If Michigan is willing to pay $125 million over 10 years then the Chargers are going to have to pay at least $130 million. It wouldn't be surprising if a bidding war ensues, and the price gets as high as $140-150 million.

The Chargers also may need to give Harbaugh some degree of roster control. That is something he naturally has as a college coach. With no GM, the Chargers have the means to give Harbaugh what he wants. The team could theoretically hire Harbaugh and then hire a Harbaugh-approved GM who works in tandem with the head coach.

One thing is abundantly clear: the ball is firmly in Jim Harbaugh's court and if the Chargers are serious about hiring him, they are going to have to cave into his demands.

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