Jim Harbaugh, Warde Manuel, and a Michigan Football Contract Extension

Jim Harbaugh

University of Michigan’s head football coach Jim Harbaugh and athletic director Warde Manuel have had conversations in recent days about a contract extension. The extension would offer Harbaugh a lower base salary than the one he currently has. It will also offer a lower buyout figure. This makes it easier to fire him next year if needed, according to a source with direct knowledge of the conversations.

The dollar amount of the offer or the number of years is still unknown. Warde Manuel and Jim Harbaugh are both known to keep contract decisions and talks close and not share with many people. Harbaugh will face the media Tuesday at noon as the face of Saturday’s game with Ohio State is unknown too. Because of the current lockdown, U-M had to cancel last Saturday’s football game against Maryland. The department hasn’t officially said the team would be able to play this coming Saturday.

Jim Harbaugh and His Team

Jim Harbaugh and His Team

Harbaugh has been under fire recently, from his team’s play and fans this season. The team has a 2-4 record and was upset by Michigan State, suffered the most lopsided home defeat since 1935 against Wisconsin, and was beaten by Indiana for the first time in 33 years. However, if Manuel were to fire Harbaugh, it could be quite costly and come at a bad time for the department.

Manuel’s Predictions

Reduced revenues, particularly from the loss of ticket sales due to lockdown, led to the playoffs of 21 employees and significant salary reductions for others, including Harbaugh, Manuel, and basketball coach Juwan Howard. In October, Manuel predicted that the deficit of the Michigan team would reach 80 million even with the return of football.

USA Today Sports and The Free Press calculated the buyout figure based on the scenario for terminating him the day after the final game of the season on December 20th and retaining his staff through January 10th. Under this scenario, Michigan would have to pay out $10.775 million to clean the house and start fresh. Meanwhile, the contracts for quarterbacks coach Ben McDaniels, offensive line coach Ed Warinner, tight ends coach Sherrone Moore, defensive line coach Shaun Nua, running backs coach Jay Harbaugh, and cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich would be off the books after January the 10th, as this is their expiration date.