NFL Rumors: Chargers' Jim Harbaugh dream is destroyed by latest report

2023 Big Ten Championship - Iowa v Michigan
2023 Big Ten Championship - Iowa v Michigan / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Jim Harbaugh has become this year's Sean Payton as a big-name coach that is looming over any potential NFL head coach openings. For the second year in a row, the LA Chargers appear to be main players, as the entire fanbase has convinced itself that Harbaugh is coming to LA.

To be fair, all the writing is on the wall for Harbaugh to coach the Chargers. Not only has he flirted with the NFL for several years and has connections with the Bolts, but fans have every reason to believe that he would actively want this job. ESPN's Mike Greenberg was comfortable enough to jump on air and share a story about Harbaugh raving over Justin Herbert. That doesn't just happen by accident.

Michigan senses that Harbaugh might be gearing up for a return to the NFL and the school is opening the checkbook to get him to stay. According to Sports Illustrated's Richard Johnson, Michigan is working on a five-year contract extension that would pay Harbaugh $11 million per year. The main hurdle in the deal, per Johnson, is Michigan's request to get it in writing that Harbaugh will not leave for the NFL before his contract expires.

Regardless, the Chargers have gotten their price tag and unfortunately for optimistic fans, this might be enough to kill any Harbaugh dreams before they really take off.

NFL Rumors: Michigan sets the Jim Harbaugh price too high for the Chargers

The sad reality is that despite being extremely profitable with the franchise value growing exponentially since moving to Los Angeles, history says that the Spanos family will not fork over the money to hire Harbaugh at this price.

There is a reason why this report was leaked to the media. Fans always need to think why something is being communicated via insiders and reporters. Someone on Michigan or Harbaugh's side wanted this number to get out in the public. Why? So any potentially-interested NFL teams know where the starting point is.

Could Harbaugh take slightly less to make the jump to the NFL? Maybe. But the absolute floor for him seems to be $10 million a year and that simply does not seem like a price that the Chargers are willing to pay.

The Chargers have historically hired cheap head coaches, which is why each of the last three head coaches was a first-time coach. For comparison, Brandon Staley's deal is rumored to be $4 million per season. If the Chargers have to outbid Michigan and offer $12 million, that is a massive increase.

Plus, the Chargers would still have to pay Staley's $4 million owed in 2024 if they were to fire him this offseason. That means the Chargers would essentially be paying $16 million in 2024 to get Harbaugh. Do we really think Dean Spanos is going to do that?

Maybe Spanos goes against how he has operated for decades as the owner of the Chargers. But history tells us that Jim Harbaugh is simply too expensive for the Bolts.

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