Even before Michigan bested Washington in the 2024 National Championship Game, the future of head coach Jim Harbaugh has been a hot topic of discussion.
Harbaugh clearly is a winner based on the trajectory of his career. He went from being a fiery NFL quarterback to a builder of programs — both collegiately and within the professional ranks. With a .695 career win percentage as an NFL head coach, there’s no reason to think multiple franchises aren’t lining up to try and lure him from his alma mater.
This piece will operate under the assumption that Harbaugh will indeed leap to the next level. After winning a title at Michigan, the final step in his football career would naturally involve winning the Super Bowl.
Here are the three best NFL fits for Harbaugh:
This might be the closest thing to a blank slate for Harbaugh. Washington is poised to have over $70 million in cap space to work with. Tennessee is the only franchise projected to have more cap space this offseason. Additionally, the Commanders have five picks in the top 100 — including the No. 2 Overall pick.
With a new ownership group put in place, Harbaugh could be the missing piece needed to bring Washington back to relevancy. Remember, this is a franchise with a rich history. Harbaugh is only 60 and thus has plenty of time to institute a culture here in the nation’s capital. He’ll likely be given the opportunity to hand-pick his preferred quarterback (whether that’s Drake Maye, Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, J.J. McCarthy, or someone else). It also would be fun to see Harbaugh compete in the same general region as his brother, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
Los Angeles Chargers
Many think this is the eventual destination for Harbaugh. There’s the natural link to the franchise dating back to when he was a player. Albeit in San Diego, Harbaugh spent two years as the quarterback for the Chargers. He has familiarity with living in the state of California from his time with the Chargers, as the head coach of USD, the QB coach with the then-Oakland Raiders, and also up on The Farm in Stanford.
Justin Herbert gives Harbaugh a young, franchise quarterback to work with. The Chargers probably have a top-10 roster in the league from a talent standpoint. Additionally, Harbaugh would get to coach the LA team with far less pressure. He can go about his business in a workmanlike fashion without the constant questioning.
Las Vegas Raiders
Much like LA, Las Vegas is a major destination for free agents. Harbaugh would have little issue luring players to Sin City. From a personality standpoint, you can totally see Harbaugh fitting in with the passionate fan base. He’d immediately be lauded with mass amounts of support. The franchise could also use a major boost in both professionalism and excitement.
The roster has some talent, but it’s still incomplete. Harbaugh can come in and shape it the way he’d like with the possibility of turning this thing around in quick fashion. The allure of coaching for one of the NFL’s most historic franchises also shouldn’t be discounted.