Does Jim Harbaugh prefer Carolina Panthers job to the Broncos in 2023?

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Jim Harbaugh
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Jim Harbaugh /

Does potential head coach Jim Harbaugh prefer the Carolina Panthers position to the Denver Broncos vacancy in 2023?

It appears as if the Carolina Panthers will look elsewhere in their quest for a new head coach in 2023. Steve Wilks remains in contention after completely galvanizing the franchise since Matt Rhule’s enforced departure. Still, team owner David Tepper will examine every potential candidate before deciding on an official appointment.

This process has already begun. According to a report from Will Kunkel of FOX Charlotte that multiple media outlets later confirmed, Tepper held a preliminary discussion with Jim Harbaugh surrounding the head coaching vacancy after his college campaign with the Michigan Wolverines ended abruptly against the TCU Horned Frogs.

Harbaugh has a wealth of success at the college and NFL levels. The Athletic revealed that the respected figure would jump at the chance to return to the next level, but the location hasn’t been determined.

There’s been plenty of speculation linking Harbaugh with the Denver Broncos, who fired Nathaniel Hackett and have the NFL’s richest owners capable of offering a substantial financial package to get their guy.

Tepper isn’t short of a few dollars, either. Even if he will be a little warier this time around after handing Rhuile absolute power and a seven-year, $62 million deal to prise him away from the college ranks.

Jim Harbaugh might prefer Carolina Panthers move in 2023

If this becomes a bidding war, then it might come down to which project Harbaugh feels he can take forward into legitimate contention. And according to Kunkel, the head coach has a preference for Carolina rather than Denver at the present time.

"“Jim Harbaugh has made it known he’s sincere in his interest in the Panthers head coaching job. He likes the roster and loves the opportunity. The Broncos job is not as attractive to Harbaugh because of Herbert and Mahomes in the same division.”"

Just how much weight this carries remains to be seen. Carolina does possess a ready-made defense and multiple high-end draft picks to utilize on key positions, which center on a franchise quarterback capable of providing a long-term solution under center following a series of suspect trades.

The Broncos seem tied to Russell Wilson and seem to be restricted by his lucrative contract moving forward. So there could be a little extra freedom in Carolina for Harbaugh to mold a team in his style.

Kunkel reported late on Tuesday evening that Harbaugh stated to Queen City News that he expects to be coaching at Michigan next season. However, nothing can be ruled out at this stage and especially if Tepper gives him whatever is required financially to make this deal happen.

This might be harsh on Wilks given the impact he’s made on the organization, its fanbase, and especially within the locker room. But if Tepper is not 100 percent convinced, he won’t hesitate to go against the grain.

At the end of the day, money talks. Harbaugh will also want assurances and plenty of say in personnel matters, but this looks like a play Tepper could make providing their first conversation about the head coaching vacancy went well.

If not, then there are countless others who deserve consideration along with Wilks, who almost led the Panthers to an unlikely NFC South championship after they started the campaign 1-5.

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