June 24, 2024

Some believe that Jim Harbaugh’s absence of a contract extension is the result of one man, and that man is not the one who is now making overtures to the NFL.

It’s Warde Manuel, the athletic director who is so divisive that supporters have created petitions labeling him as a “Public Enemy” and demanding his dismissal. If you ask a fervent Michigan fan about Harbaugh’s future or scroll through social media, they will most likely spend half of the conversation smearing Manuel.

Michigan's Jim Harbaugh has $125M contract extension offer but it comes  with NFL twist: report | Fox News

There is a reason, just to be clear. In the past few years, Manuel has taken a variety of dubious actions, such as seeking to keep abusive coaches on staff, breaking contracts months after signing them, and slowly implementing NIL. In this instance, too, Manuel has not promised that the leader who created the popular football team will remain in the area, even as it has grown into a major force.

However, Manuel is not the only one affected by Harbaugh’s decision not to extend his contract. Instead, it’s a joint fault of Harbaugh’s for always exploring his NFL possibilities.

Admittedly, Harbaugh has a lot of baggage. Regardless of whether the Wolverines won “fair and square,” Harbaugh’s contract situation needs to account for his uncertain future, given the status of the two ongoing NCAA investigations into his team. That is the reason he is purportedly looking for a clause in a contract that will supposedly make him the highest paid college football coach in the industry, requiring any for-cause termination to go through an arbitration panel that has been agreed upon. If the NCAA reveals an offensive scheme that can be fired, Harbaugh will not risk millions of dollars, even if coach claims that staying at Michigan is not about the money. Manuel, though, isn’t going to take a chance on Michigan having to pay for it.

Giving a national championship-winning coach like Jim Harbaugh anything he wants is simple. A large salary, a lifetime contract, and even a holiday named in his honor would be readily accepted by many of his supporters. Politicians from both parties came to support Harbaugh and his squad during Michigan’s championship celebration since his name is so well-known these days.

However, Manuel must take his time and ensure that the contract terms are correct, even if doing so tarnishes his reputation. Manuel, the Regents, and everyone else involved in Harbaugh’s contract need to make sure the deal benefits the Wolverines in addition to bringing Harbaugh back on board.

Harbaugh has been increasing the pressure by conducting interviews with NFL teams throughout this time. He’s already had interviews with the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Chargers, and he has another appointment scheduled with the Falcons. He may still choose to return, but he puts his allegiance to the test every day. He has every right to do it. Nevertheless, it also suggests that Harbaugh isn’t quite convinced about a return to Michigan, regardless of how contract talks pan out.

Had Harbaugh been adamant about returning to Michigan, he would have made that declaration. He obviously isn’t, despite his ongoing interest in the NFL, and Manuel is powerless to alter it.

Though Manuel may attempt to persuade him to return to Ann Arbor, Harbaugh is the only one who can decide. And anyone who is not deluded by the glamour of a championship ring would conclude so from his current emotional adultery with the NFL.

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