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    Jim Harbaugh 2024 coaching future odds: Will Michigan coach leave alma mater for NFL, potentially Chargers, if Wolverines beat Washington for national championship?

    Jim Harbaugh could be coaching his final game at Michigan on Monday night.
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    The 2023-24 college football season concludes Monday night from Houston with No. 1 Michigan facing No. 2 Washington for the College Football Playoff national title and many are already speculating that it will be the final game as Wolverines coach for Jim Harbaugh with a return to the NFL on the horizon. The Wolverines are 4.5-point favorites and Harbaugh could go out on a high note. SportsLine offers odds on Harbaugh's future.

    Black Monday is here in the NFL, which is when teams typically clean house – the Falcons and Commanders have already dumped head coaches Arthur Smith and Ron Rivera, respectively. The Los Angeles Chargers have had an opening since they fired coach Brandon Staley and GM Tom Telesco following an embarrassing loss in Las Vegas in Week 15. Chargers ownership has typically been relatively cheap, but John Spanos, who also has the title of president of football operations, has said that money will not be a limiting factor when filling the positions.

    The franchise's past three coaches — Staley, Anthony Lynn and Mike McCoy — were hired with no previous head-coaching experience. It's widely expected experience will be a priority this time around.

    "I do think there's value in previous head-coach experience," John Spanos said. "I think we all recognize that. It helps having been through it before. I don't think it can be the end-all, be-all in regards to not looking at anyone but experienced coaches. But, absolutely, we'll factor in that. That's an added bonus if someone does have previous head-coach experience."

    Offshore book BetOnline lists Harbaugh as the -200 favorite to be the next Chargers head coach, which makes a lot of sense, as Harbaugh could potentially get full control because there is no GM in place. The Chargers have one huge advantage over any other team with a possible opening like Washington, New England or Las Vegas: A franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert. Harbaugh also has ties to the franchise, as his final two NFL seasons as a player were with the San Diego Chargers. The Athletic is reporting that the Bolts are the clear favorites to land Harbaugh. The franchise could absolutely use some buzz with the Rams being the clear top dogs in town. Harbaugh would bring that buzz for sure. 

    There is also a potential looming NCAA punishment of Harbaugh for recruiting violations. The coach was suspended for a total of six games this year. Those separate suspensions were not from the NCAA, but self-imposed by Michigan or from the Big Ten. There's a general consensus that Harbaugh is looking at an additional suspension for recruiting during the 2020 COVID dead period in addition to this year's sign-stealing scheme.

    Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman reported in November that "It would not be surprising if Jim Harbaugh could be suspended for the bulk of the 2024 season." In late December, ESPN reported that Harbaugh faces a Level I violation for allegedly not cooperating with or misleading NCAA investigators about the alleged recruiting violations.

    And there's also the fact that Michigan, while it always will be a powerhouse, could be looking at a bit of step-back season in 2024 with a ton of talent set to leave for the NFL, led by quarterback JJ McCarthy (he hasn't officially declared for the draft yet), running back Blake Corum and defensive playmaker Mike Sainristil, among many others. Michigan's two-deep depth chart features 20 players (including their kicker and long-snapper) who are fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-year seniors, including nine each on offense and defense. Michigan has the fifth-shortest odds to win ext season's title at +1000 at DraftKings (Georgia is the +450 favorite).

    The school has reportedly offered Harbaugh a 10-year, $125 million extension, which he hasn't signed. Harbaugh has also hired agent Don Yee, who represents some big names in professional football such as Tom Brady and Sean Payton. It makes sense for Harbaugh to hire someone with deep NFL connections if he's thinking of leaving. He interviewed with the Vikings in 2022 and the Broncos in 2023, but neither of those jobs will be open this offseason. Harbaugh was asked about potentially leaving for the NFL this weekend by the media but deflected the question.

    "I'll gladly talk about the future next week," he said. "And I hope to have one, how about that? A future. I hope to have one, yes."

    Per ESPN, the last time a school won at least 14 games in a season and changed head coaches the following year was 1894-95, when Yale won 16 games with William C. Rhodes and then changed to John A. Hartwell.

    The Raiders, Commanders (picking second overall in the 2024 draft), Patriots (picking third) and Bears (where Harbaugh also played) have also been linked to Harbaugh. Chicago could be intriguing with the Bears holding the No. 1 overall pick and the chance to draft Caleb Williams. 

    Michigan might have Harbaugh's replacement already on staff in offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore.

    Via SportsLine oddsmakers: What will Jim Harbaugh's job be to start the 2024 football season?

    • NFL head coach -120
    • Michigan head coach +120
    • TV/year off +500

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