Jim Harbaugh staying at Michigan, thinning out Sean Payton’s competition

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We’ll file this one under “not insubstantial.” Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has been one of two big names on the market in this year’s NFL hiring cycle — along with Jim Harbaugh, the longtime Michigan Wolverines head coach who recently began flirting with pro opportunities again. And now Harbaugh is off the board. Michigan president Santa Ono announced Monday afternoon that Harbaugh will remain with the Wolverines as their head football coach after considering his options in a potential return to the NFL.

Now Payton is all alone at the top as the most experienced and widely-coveted coach on the market. Sure, there are plenty of exciting young up-and-comers looking to move up from coordinator jobs around the league, but Payton boasts a Super Bowl ring and the complete transformation of the Saints on his resume. Four different teams have been granted permission to meet with him, including the division-rival Carolina Panthers who spent the last 15 years losing to Payton twice each season. With Harbaugh out of the picture, look for teams like the Denver Broncos to redouble their efforts in recruiting Payton as their top option.

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire