Michigan football's Jim Harbaugh contract extension proposal: 4 years, lower base salary

Rainer Sabin and David Jesse, Detroit Free Press
·2 min read

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to sign a four-year contract extension that would lower his base salary to $4 million but includes multiple incentives allowing him to double that figure if he can turn the program into championship material.

[ Michigan wants to sign Harbaugh to extension; ball is in coach's court now ]

Multiple sources confirmed other media reports that escalators in Harbaugh's deal are tied to winning the Big Ten East Division and the Big Ten conference title, qualifying for the College Football Playoff and claiming a national championship.

The sources requested anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly about the negotiations.

Since arriving in Ann Arbor in December 2014, Harbaugh has never helped the Wolverines reach any of those benchmarks and has a 49-22 overall record. This past season, he earned nearly $7.8 million while guiding Michigan to a 2-4 record.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh looks on before the game against the Rutgers at SHI Stadium on Nov. 21, 2020.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh looks on before the game against the Rutgers at SHI Stadium on Nov. 21, 2020.

Harbaugh's contract situation has been a topic of conversation in these parts since last winter. He said he was negotiating an extension before the onset of the pandemic tabled those talks in March.

“I think there’s bigger fish to fry — for our athletic director, for our administration, for me as a coach," he said in July. "It hasn’t been on the top of the priority list. I would expect something, [that] there will be an announcement sometime.”

Harbaugh, 57, doubled down on those remarks in October and entered the season as the only Power Five coach with less than two years left on his contract.

[ Michigan hurting recruiting with Jim Harbaugh contract limbo ]

Negotiations about an extension resumed last month while decisions with Harbaugh's staff hung in the air. Defensive coordinator Don Brown was dismissed in late December and the contracts of six other assistants are set to expire on Monday. A source said Harbaugh has been actively working to fill the vacancy left by Brown and address other personnel moves even though he has yet to put pen to paper on his own deal.

Contact Rainer Sabin at rsabin@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @RainerSabin. Read more on the Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Big Ten newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football's Jim Harbaugh contract extension proposal: 4 years