Connections between Tom Brady (left) and Jim Harbaugh fueled Raiders rumors this week.
It’s a longshot, but as the season draws to a close, there will be a distinct uptick in Raiders rumors coming forth. With good reason: The Raiders have played well down the stretch of the season and the future of interim coach Antonio Pierce remains unsure. What was once seen as a dead-end job for an NFL coach suddenly looks a lot more promising. That makes the Tom Brady-related action taken by Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh this weekend all the more relevant to the Raiders rumors mill.Harbaugh, ahead of his Wolverines’ appearance against Alabama in the Rose Bowl, the semifinal for the college football playoffs, hired prominent NFL agent Don Yee to represent him. The news was reported by Adam Schefter and Pete Thamel of ESPN. Schefter tweeted early Sunday morning: “Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has hired football agent Don Yee to represent him, sources tell me and @PeteThamel. Amongst others, Yee represents Tom Brady and Sean Payton and has deep NFL ties.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has hired football agent Don Yee to represent him, sources tell me and @PeteThamel. Amongst others, Yee represents Tom Brady and Sean Payton and has deep NFL ties. pic.twitter.com/9fFe9yElNI
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 31, 2023
It was an abrupt and eye-opening move by Harbaugh, and one that sparked Raiders rumors because of the client who made Yee famous: Brady, a confidant of owner Mark Davis, and whose bid to become a part owner of the Raiders is ongoing.Raiders Rumors: Would Tom Brady Steer Coach Pick?Now, whether Yee and Tom Brady would or could steer Harbaugh to the Raiders is an open question. While anything can happen in the next two weeks, the consensus is that, if Harbaugh left Michigan to go the NFL, he would do so to coach the Chargers. Harbaugh played for the Chargers at the end of his career.There is also an increasing consensus suggesting that the Raiders will bring back Pierce as the permanent coach in the offseason. Players have been outspoken in their support of Pierce, who has done an impressive job of getting his team to play more inspired football since taking over for Josh McDaniels on Halloween.But that does not mean Jim Harbaugh-to-the-Raiders rumors are dead altogether. The assumptions on Pierce and the Chargers are mostly media-based. Much can change between now and when actual hires are made.Many prominent voices made note of that this week, giving some juice to the idea that Harbaugh could be headed to Vegas.
The only way Antonio Pierce shouldn’t be coaching the Raiders next year is if Jim Harbaugh wants that job.
— Zach Gelb (@ZachGelb) December 25, 2023
It’s also not out of the question that Harbaugh surprises everyone and sticks around in Ann Arbor. As NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported last week: “Sources say Jim Harbaugh, whose current deal runs through 2026, received an offer from Michigan for a 10-year, $125-million contract extension that would make him one of the highest-paid coaches in college football.Jim Harbaugh Declines to Talk NFLThe hiring of Don Yee is the clearest thing that Harbaugh has said about his impending decision. That’s because he was decidedly evasive when asked about it during a Rose Bowl press conference this week.“Such a one-track mind,” Harbaugh said when asked about his future, via Joe Reedy of the Associated Press. “That’s the way we’ve gone about things. It’s literally whatever day we’re in, looking to get the most out of it. Dominate the day. Then we’ll go to sleep tonight, and wake up tomorrow and see if we can’t dominate that day. It’s a single-minded group. It’s very focused on just taking care of business today and see if we can’t do the same tomorrow.“It’s just a very one-track mind about this game. Right now, it’s just, have fun with the family and the team and the players. We’re at the happiest place on Earth. We’re going to enjoy ourselves and then get back to business. See if we can’t dominate the day.” […]