Why Jim Harbaugh should go to the Carolina Panthers

Jim Harbaugh could find more success in Carolina

Jim Harbaugh has peaked in his time with the University of Michigan, as he exited a 2021 college football season with a record of 12-2 and an Orange Bowl appearance. It’s also worth mentioning that the Harbaugh-led Wolverines managed to edge out Ohio State University in a 42-27 thrashing of the rival, seventh-ranked squad.

We know Harbaugh has finally left his mark on the college football world. With that said, it appears that Harbaugh may take his talents elsewhere now that he’s on top of the rollercoaster in Michigan. Well, where could the former 49ers, Michigan, and Stanford coach take his talents? It appears that the Harbaugh twin could go back to his professional football coaching roots. 

According to The Athletic, there appears to be a real shot that the former NFL HC returns to the big league. Some have suggested that he could take over the reign in Las Vegas and NBC Chicago stated that Harbaugh “has really positive feelings” about the Bears.

It’s not clear if Chicago will realistically strike gold with the head coach, but it does seem like a logical fit. The Bears have a rookie quarterback with a lot of potential in Justin Fields. They also have significant talent on defense with All-Pro DE Khalil Mack and Pro Bowl snub Roquan Smith.

I can’t deny that the Bears fit well and seem to be a safe bet for landing the Big 10 coach. There are three reasons why they make sense. For 1. They will most likely have a head coaching opening. Second of all, they have the soon-to-be second-year QB Justin Fields. And the third reason would have to be there’s an emotional aspect for Harbaugh. Of course, the head coach played QB for the Bears in his NFL playing days.

Still, I believe there is a better fit talent-wise for Harbaugh and this said team could have a potential opening. This team is none other than the Carolina Panthers. I surely feel that Harbaugh would have more success and more robust, long-term potential with CAR.  

The future competitiveness of the NFC South should seem a lot more charming than that of the NFC North (even if it is dreadful now). In 2024, here is a realistic expectation of the NFC South QBs (excluding Carolina): 

Tampa Bay: Kyle Trask

New Orleans: Jameis Winston

Atlanta Falcons: a rookie or second-year QB

In the NFC North, the Packers could have their attractive ex in Aaron Rodgers for at least a few more seasons. Not to mention that he’s made it very clear that he owns the Bears. The Minnesota Vikings should be at least modest with a couple of holes filled plus the presence of two potential future Hall of Famers in Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson. The Lions have no light at the end of the tunnel, but they do fight hard. I will leave it there.

The South has firepower, but they have a few more wheelchairs via the age of the elite players. Let’s face it, Tom Brady and Gronk won’t be playing longer than a couple of seasons in the NFL. The Falcons will most likely have a new franchise QB in an offense missing Julio Jones and very likely Calvin Ridley. Then the Saints have Sean Payton, Alvin Kamara, but Cam Jordan, Demario Davis, and Malcolm Jenkins will all be 33+ years old next season. It’s not clear who the future QB will be and if Michael Thomas will be in the Big Easy with his rangy nature towards the team. Although, I do feel that the Saints have an optimistic long-term outlook if they properly address the QB situation this offseason.

The Panthers could dominate the South for years if they find a spark at QB around the talent they carry. They will honestly have a bit of a fixer-upper at their own QB situation. Although, it’s worth mentioning that Fields hasn’t been close to a proven first-round pick in Chi-town. But, the Panthers have a very impressive supporting cast around their QB situation. That’s why Harbaugh should also take his chances of finding the franchise QB in the Carolinas and not in the Windy City. 

Harbaugh could have one of the best all-purpose RBs in CMAC coming off of injury. He could rightfully help him return to being an OPOY type of back. He will at least have a season to experiment with him and see how explosive his ability post-injury is. The WR group is much more talented in CAR than Chicago, as well. Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore are arguably the most underrated WR duo in all of the league, while the two leading receivers for the Bears this season are RB David Montgomery and RB Khalil Herbert. Yes, you read that correctly. 

Harbaugh should ideally have his favorite landing spot in his head, but he could be surprised by another opening. If Rhule is really out (right after his OC), then Harbaugh could acknowledge the potential in CAR and be more intuitive by selecting the better strategic empty chair.

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