Rumors that Jim Harbaugh might return to the NFL are not going away. If the Michigan coach decides to leave college football, it will likely be for the Las Vegas Raiders.

There is mutual interest between Harbaugh and Las Vegas, ESPN reports. Rich Bisaccia finished the season as the Raiders interim head coach following Jon Gruden’s resignation. Bisaccia is expected to be one of several candidates for the team’s head coaching position in 2022.

Harbaugh’s flirtation with the NFL has been viewed as a negotiation tactic as he seeks a new contract with Michigan. According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, however, Harbaugh has had a contract extension from the Wolverines on the table for nearly two weeks. It remains unsigned.

In June, Harbaugh’s base salary was cut in half from $8 million to $4 million as part of a four-year extension. Harbaugh led Michigan to the College Football Playoff in his first season on the new incentive-laden deal.

Would Harbaugh become the Raiders coach if offered the job? According to The Athletic, sources inside Michigan believe that he would. Harbaugh might be waiting to see what happens with Las Vegas’ coaching search before accepting the latest offer from Michigan.

No one seems to know exactly what Harbaugh will do, given his track record. Before being hired by Michigan for the 2015 college football season, Harbaugh had three different head coaching jobs that didn’t last more than four years. 

Harbaugh was a successful head coach in his brief time in the NFL. Harbaugh had a 44-19-1 record as the San Francisco 49ers coach from 2011-2014. The 49ers won at least 11 games in three of those four seasons. San Francisco made one Super Bowl appearance and never finished with a losing record. 

Harbaugh’s first coaching gig was as the Raiders quarterbacks coach from 2002-2003. The 58-year-old is a real candidate to become the team’s head coach after one of the Raiders’ most successful seasons since he left the organization.

Las Vegas was defeated by the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild-card round of the 2022 NFL playoffs. The Raiders fired general manager Mike Mayock shortly after the loss.

New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is also a candidate to be the next Raiders coach, according to ESPN. 

Michigan Football Jim Harbaugh Michigan Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh at Michigan Stadium on Nov. 30, 2019, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images