Dennis Dodd: Jim Harbaugh’s future “up in the air”

Michigan is reportedly interested in signing Jim Harbaugh to an extension through the 2026 season, but the 57-year-old appears to be mulling his options, including a potential return to the NFL.

“He’s got that unsigned extension, and it’s been reported that it’s loaded with a lower base and incentives in it,” CBSSports.com national college football reporter Dennis Dodd said on Tiki & Tierney. “To me, they’re basically calling his bluff. ‘If you want to come back, these are going to be the conditions.’ It’s layered. Read between the lines.”

Harbaugh is 49-22 at Michigan but is 0-5 against Ohio State and 11-10 in his last 21 games. He has also lost his last four bowl games.

“I think he wants to be at Michigan,” Dodd said. “I think he also wants to look around now and see what’s available in the NFL. When he started, no matter what happened, I thought he was going to go back to the NFL at some point. If he fell flat on his face or won three national championships, he was going to go back because that’s where he’s had his greatest success. So I think it’s up in the air. I haven’t seen any smoke linking his name to any of these jobs. It may be going on right now as speak.”

Harbaugh, who played in the NFL for 14 seasons, went 44-19-1 in four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers (2011-14). He led the Niners to three NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl appearance. He has the fifth-highest winning percentage (.695) in NFL history.

Harbaugh’s seven-year contract with Michigan expires after the 2021 season. He entered the 2020 season as the only FBS coach with less than two years remaining on his deal.

“He would need [that] to recruit,” Dodd said of an extension. “He’s among a handful of coaches whose contracts expired in January 2022. That’s untenable to be able to recruit.”

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