The Los Angeles Chargers are set to hold discussions with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh regarding their coaching vacancy in the upcoming week, according to sources informed by Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Harbaugh has reportedly indicated to associates that there is a genuine possibility of him leaving the Wolverines to take on the role of head coach for the Los Angeles team. This aligns with previous reports highlighting the 60-year-old as a leading candidate for the Chargers’ coaching position, which became available after the dismissal of Brandon Staley in mid-December.
While the Las Vegas Raiders are also considered potential pursuers of Harbaugh, who recently guided his alma mater to a national title, interim coach Antonio Pierce appears to be the frontrunner for the job, enjoying the support of key players.
Despite the coaching speculation, Michigan is actively working to retain Harbaugh, and negotiations for a new deal are currently in progress.
Harbaugh is certainly a candidate of interest, but sources say the sides have not yet spoken. That should change next week, and if all goes well, things could ramp up quickly.
Sources say Harbaugh will not require the team he joins to allow him to hire his own GM, understanding that the structure of NFL buildings has changed and evolved since he last worked in the league. Still, teams such as the Chargers would likely hire a GM who is familiar with Harbaugh and can work in concert with him.
Given Harbaugh’s status as a college coach, he can immediately interview with NFL teams, as he is not bound by the new rule restricting in-person meetings until after the divisional round.
Unlike some coaches, Harbaugh, who previously coached the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014, is reportedly not insisting on the authority to hire his own general manager when joining a new team, as per sources from Pelissero and Rapoport.
However, potential suspensions stemming from ongoing NCAA investigations into potential sign-stealing and recruitment violations add complexity to Harbaugh’s situation.
It appears that Harbaugh is on the verge of making a return to the NFL coaching scene.