Not only myself but so many others have speculated as to when and if former Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach Josh McDaniels would be fired despite the lengthy contract he was given.
With McDaniels yet again showcasing signs of not being an NFL head coach, many around the league held their breath on his departure actually coming to fruition. After all, Raiders owner Mark Davis is still paying former head coach Jon Gruden’s contract, too. As of last week, the Raiders are looking for not only a new head coach but also a new general manager and offensive coordinator.
I’ve been contemplating who could be the next Raiders head coach since fans were calling for McDaniels’ job only one season into his six-year contract.
“Could Lincoln Riley and Kyler Murray reunite in Las Vegas?” I initially thought.
Yet, fortunately, as I dove into the possibilities of that situation shaking out, the truth presented itself to me, one sign-stealing headline at a time.
Jim Harbaugh to Raiders… Confirmed?
Why Would Jim Harbaugh Leave Michigan for Las Vegas?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few weeks, you should be aware of the Michigan sign-stealing scandal that’s the center of attention in the College Football world. There are plenty of articles out there on the repercussions Michigan is dealing with as part of this scandal, so I won’t bore you with all those details.
To make it short, Jim Harbaugh is currently suspended for the remainder of Michigan’s regular season, unable to coach on the sidelines during gameday, but allowed to participate with the team leading up to the game. With Ohio State, No. 2 in the College Football Playoff Rankings, being the last game of the regular season, Michigan’s chances of making it to the dance are up in the air with even a single loss on the year.
It’s hard to determine whether Harbaugh’s suspension is justified at this point. The investigation has not been finalized, and clear evidence has not been shown that Harbaugh was involved in the scandal. We also don’t know whether this was a situation from which he even benefited. One thing is clear: This suspension could cost a lot of NFL Draft-eligible players, as well as Jim Harbaugh, a chance at a College Football National Championship.
Regardless of the suspension, rumors and reports around the league have been anticipating Harbaugh’s return to the NFL for the last two seasons, with the Vikings in 2022 and to the Broncos this year. With the Raiders currently having the only head coaching vacancy, could Jim Harbaugh be going back to where he started his NFL coaching career as a quarterbacks coach with the then-Oakland Raiders?
Why Would The Raiders Want Jim Harbaugh?
Why would the Raiders want Harbaugh? That’s easy and missing the point. Jim Harbaugh is an incredible coach who can turn a program around of any kind and do it within three seasons. He’s shown us how quickly he can turn around College Football programs like Stanford and Michigan or NFL teams like the 49ers. I’m willing to believe the Raiders could win the AFC West within the next three years, knowing Harbaugh is at the helm.
Having a handful of NFL Draft-eligible players coming out of Michigan and his overall knowledge of the upcoming classes could make Harbaugh a smash hire for the Raiders. He could bring in “his guys” to fill all the voids the Raiders currently have, being a key factor in Draft-day decision-making.
Why would the Raiders want to take a chance on a coach who’s in the middle of an investigation? That is the better question to ask.
I could question the same thing about now interim head coach Antonio Pierce, who resigned from Arizona State in 20223 amid investigation. Pierce is doing a fantastic job with Las Vegas so far. Since Davis let him take over for McDaniels, it’d be hard to imagine he wouldn’t go after the best coaching candidate out there who’s in a similar situation to Pierce.
Is Money a Concern for Mark Davis?
Some are also questioning whether the Raiders will want to swing for the fences once again on another big-name coach after missing on both Gruden & McDaniels. Those fans are also probably in the same boat of hoping that Davis doesn’t try to make right on his decision of turning down Rich Bisaccia for McDaniels and give Pierce the job.
Here’s why I don’t think that was ever a possibility:
Although he isn’t as well known as Jerry Jones, Davis is in a situation very similar to the Cowboys’ historic owner. Everyone knows that Jones is getting up there in age and is severely eager to watch his team finally get back over the hump and win another Super Bowl.
Mark Davis, son of historic Raiders owner Al Davis, got to go to games when he was younger and watch his dad create some of the most magical moments in NFL history. Yet, now he’s subjected to watching the Raiders become a laughingstock of the league with him at the helm. At a certain point, you’d have to imagine that Davis finally realized he needed to make a big impact with time ticking away.
I don’t believe that Davis would be willing to eat that much money just to hire an average head coach to get him by until he feels financially comfortable enough to make another splash hire.
Money also talks.
Most of us can’t fathom writing off a hire with that big of a contract like Gruden, let alone two of them when you add in McDaniels. Still, Davis also owns the WNBA Las Vegas Aces and I’m sure he can justify another big transaction to finally give him and the city of Vegas some relief.
If you owned two teams like Mark Davis, one coming off a championship and another one being at the bottom of the barrel and getting you mocked for, you’d start writing some checks.
How & Why Does the Move Happen?
Here’s where things get a little spicy. I think the hire is basically already a done deal. This is completely pure speculation. So why do I feel confident in saying that?
To find out how a situation can transpire, you have to figure out the moving pieces or the middleman that’s making it happen.
How does the word get from person A to person B, and what’s the trail between the two?
To reference the show “Friends,” how did Ross (David Schwimmer) attempt to stop Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) from finding out about the girl at the photocopy place? He had to find out the middleman.
Who’s the “Gunther” between Mark Davis and Jim Harbaugh? How do we get from the Las Vegas Raiders/ Las Vegas Aces owner Mark Davis to Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh?
Who’s to say that Brady just decided to alter the plan a bit from Payton to Harbaugh and the Dolphins to the Raiders?
Jim Harbaugh to the Raiders… Confirmed.
Thanks for reading my opinion on a possible Jim Harbaugh move to the Raiders. For more content, find me on Twitter, @hoovtube.
*Featured Photo Credit: Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports*