Could the Carolina Panthers make an ambitious swoop for Jim Harbaugh?

The Carolina Panthers have been linked to the Michigan head coach in recent days.
Jim Harbaugh
Jim Harbaugh / Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY

Could the Carolina Panthers be gearing up for an ambitious raid to secure the services of Jim Harbaugh as their next head coach?

The Carolina Panthers are looking for a new head coach after firing Frank Reich. Speculation is already running rampant about who team owner David Tepper could identify as candidates of interest

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is the hot name and the Panthers would be foolish not to explore the possibility. However, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports also revealed Tepper could make an ambitious play for Jim Harbaugh.

Carolina Panthers need a program builder like Jim Harbaugh

The respected insider with strong connections to the Panthers stated that Harbaugh wasn't under consideration last time around. Given the need to completely reset the culture in Carolina, the current Michigan head coach might be among those targeted when interviews commence.

"One name that wasn't a consideration for Carolina last year but may be after these 11 games is Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. Multiple sources who spoke with CBS Sports said Harbaugh should be considered a real candidate for the job. CBS Sports reported last January that Harbaugh or his representation called Tepper with regularity as Carolina searched for a new head coach. Tepper took a call with Harbaugh, sources said, but it was never a job interview. Among the reasons Tepper wasn't interested in Harbaugh was that the team had just fired a coach in Rhule who ran the entire football operation. Might Tepper decide to hire the big personality that is Harbaugh? It's possible, and sources have said for weeks that the Michigan coach would entertain a return to the NFL."

Jonathan Jones, CBS Sports

This is a divisive topic among fans. Harbaugh's done nothing but win everywhere he goes, but he does rub some people up the wrong way with a perceived arrogance and hard-nosed approach.

Appointing Harbaugh would be the big splash Tepper's been craving since buying the franchise from Jerry Richardson. Just how the two big personalities would mesh is anyone's guess, but money talks at the end of the day.

One would anticipate Harbaugh would need specific assurances and plenty of input when it comes to personnel. Whether Tepper would adhere to that after the Matt Rhule fiasco is another matter.

Harbaugh might not be to everyone's taste, but he would instantly legitimize the Panthers as a force. Something that could make them an attractive destination for veteran free agents despite languishing among the NFL's bottom feeders throughout Tepper's tenure.

Public opinion of Harbaugh outside of Michigan isn't great right now. Accusations of cheating the system resulted in a three-game sideline suspension, so moving back to the NFL seems like a legitimate option for someone at constant odds with the NCAA currently.

If Tepper feels like this sort of leader can turn the Panthers into contenders, he won't hesitate to pull the trigger. It'll take a massive contract and more power than most head coaches around the league, but the owner's got deep pockets and is itching to do whatever it takes to progress.

It's a gamble. And there's a real chance these two could have a hard time putting their respective egos to one side.

But if Harbaugh did become head coach and everything clicked, the rewards would be substantial. And when push comes to shove, winning cures everything.