It's probably fair to say that Chuck Pagano won't be the Colts' head coach in 2018 - I don't think I'm going out on too much of a limb there. But, if Pagano is gone, who will take over?
Jim Irsay has been rumored to have gone out looking for a "big splash" replacement after both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, and come up empty handed. Yet, Fox Sports Radio host Colin Cowherd thinks he has the perfect candidate: Jim Harbaugh.
10 reasons Jim Harbaugh could leave Michigan for Andrew Luck and the Colts pic.twitter.com/Q0yPoQFwem— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) September 13, 2017
Cowherd's reasoning is sound, especially his point about Harbaugh's stays being short-lived wherever he's gone. This is just his third season at Michigan, but he stayed just three (San Diego) and four (Stanford, 49ers) seasons in each of his previous stints. He would also be the big splash that Irsay has been searching for, a clear upgrade from the current head coach, and obviously would have an existing rapport with the franchise player.
All of that said, Harbaugh didn't have the emotional connection to San Diego, Stanford, or San Francisco that he does to Michigan, his alma mater. Would he be able to ditch the Wolverines without even seeing a full cycle of his own recruiting classes come through? More importantly, would he be able to walk away from football's richest contract ($9 million in 2016, more than an NFL head coach made) and would the Colts be willing to give him a raise in the first place?
I know that some fans aren't a big fan of his personality, and it's tough to speculate about a head coaching candidate who might not even be a realistic hire, but Harbaugh would be the no-brainer of no-brainers for Irsay.