Feldman: Not so fast on the whole Harbaugh-to-Michigan deal

BY foxsports • December 19, 2014

On Wednesday, word was Michigan was prepared to offer former Wolverines quarterback and current 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh nearly $50 million to coach at his alma mater. And as FOX Sports NFL Insider Mike Garafolo reported, the coach was listening.

And then came Thursday.

First, Harbaugh spoke with media after practice, the first time since the news of the Michigan offer/interest broke. And in typical Harbaugh fashion, he gave a very brief and nondescript answer.

When pressed further, Harbaugh reportedly said, "Again, I mean, I really don't want to talk about any other job than the one I have," Harbaugh said, "or talk about anybody else's process.

"I've said that I'm going to finish this to the end . . . I mean . . . my focus (is) the same as the players' focus, is the same as the coaches' focus — focus on the practice field, the focus in meetings, by the players, by the coaches and by me. That is our focus, this football game against the San Diego Chargers and playing well and winning. That's where our energy and focus is."

Then later in the day, FOX Sports College Football Insider Bruce Feldman offered a little more insight — and confusion — to the story.

On "America's Pregame," Feldman expanded, saying "the dollar figure is not close" and that any formal offer will not be made until after the completion of the NFL regular season. Feldman also added that his sources said Harbaugh is more likely to take a job with an NFL team "if he can get the control he wants."

According to multiple reports, Michigan is prepared to offer Harbaugh a six-year, $49 million contract to replace Brady Hoke, who was fired after the regular season. Interim Michigan athletic director Jim Hackett played for the Wolverines in the '70s while Harbaugh's father Jack was an assistant coach.

Harbaugh is not expected to coach the 49ers after this season, despite the fact that he has one year remaining on his contract. Many expect Harbaugh to be courted by the Raiders, a team for which Garafolo said Harbaugh has an affinity. The move would also allow the Harbaugh family to remain in the Bay Area, something the coach's wife would reportedly prefer.

FOX Sports NFL Insider Jay Glazer reported in Week 1 that there was no chance, even with a Super Bowl run, that Harbaugh would be back with the 49ers in 2015, and that looks to be coming to fruition. Despite three straight trips to the NFC Championship Game and narrow loss to Baltimore just two Super Bowls ago, Harbaugh's relationship with 49ers management has been rocky. The low point came following a 19-3 Thanksgiving loss at home to Seattle, a loss which was immediately followed by a tweeted apology to fans by team CEO Jed York.

Of course, it should also be noted that just because Harbaugh pledged to "only talk about the job I that have" it doesn't mean a Michigan deal is not in the works. Indeed, that seems to be a bit of a go-to line for Harbaugh. Check out what he said just days before the 2011 Orange Bowl while the head coach of Stanford.

He was named head coach of the 49ers 10 days later.

— FOX Sports NFL Insider Mike Garafolo contributed to this report

share story