Angelique S. Chengelis
| The Detroit News
Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh is nearing finalizing a contract extension as early as Friday and his reorganized staff is starting to take shape. He reportedly is closing in on a new defensive coordinator and has moved on from his quarterbacks coach.
As The Detroit News reported Thursday night, Harbaugh is expected to sign a five-year extension with a lower base salary but heavy incentives. There also will be a lower buyout. Harbaugh is entering his seventh season as Michigan’s head coach.
While Harbaugh and athletic director Warde Manuel have been working through contract negotiations since Dec. 17, Harbaugh also made staff moves. Michigan parted ways with defensive coordinator Don Brown on Dec. 22 after five seasons, and Brown has since joined Arizona coach Jedd Fisch as defensive coordinator.
Several sources have told The News that Harbaugh is zeroing in on Baltimore Ravens linebackers coach Mike Macdonald as defensive coordinator. Macdonald, 33, has spent the last three seasons as linebackers coach under Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, the older brother of the Michigan coach.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Macdonald is expected to accept the Michigan defensive coordinator’s position following the playoffs. The Ravens play Tennessee on Sunday in a wild-card game. Macdonald cut his teeth in the coaching game at Georgia as a student assistant in 2010 and then as a graduate assistant.
John Harbaugh, during a Zoom news conference on Friday, was asked about Macdonald potentially leaving to join his brother’s staff at Michigan.
“As much as I love Michigan and love my brother even more than Michigan … I like Michigan, I love my brother — put it that way — I just don’t want to comment on any of that right now,” John Harbaugh told reporters. “Our focus is on Sunday. All of our coaches are locked in on that. That’s what we’re looking at.”
Six of Michigan’s assistants have contracts expiring Monday: Jay Harbaugh, Mike Zordich, Shaun Nua, Ed Warinner, Sherrone Moore and Ben McDaniels. McDaniels, quarterbacks coach the last two years, will not return to the staff this fall, two sources confirmed. Safeties coach Bob Shoop, hired before the 2020 season, also is not expected to return. Shoop did not work with the team in an on-field capacity last fall for undisclosed reasons. According to a statement last season from Michigan, Shoop was “performing team-related duties remotely.” Michigan did not offer anything more specific “in consideration of his privacy interests.”
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