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Report: Jim Harbaugh, Warde Manuel in contract talks, but acceptability of deal in question

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Is this a deal Harbaugh wants to take?

Penn State v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Each day that passes without a contract extension between Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines, the louder the cries and questions about the future get. On a day that was supposed to see the renewal of one of the great rivalries in college football between Michigan and Ohio State, the contract situation in the biggest storyline.

FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman, who also reported earlier that Michigan would have been without about 45 players if they played this week, said that talks are taking place between Harbaugh and Manuel. However, there is a question about if the deal is an acceptable one or not.

“I’m told Jim Harbaugh and AD Warde Manuel have begun preliminary contract talks for a new deal,” Feldman said during FOX’s pregame show. “But here’s the thing. When you look at the situation for Jim Harbaugh, I’m told they’re going to look at a lower base salary for him than where he’s at now with big incentives. But, to put this bluntly, people close to Jim Harbaugh have told me they wonder if Jim Harbaugh’s ego would allow him to accept this deal going forward.

“The question is: what are his other coaching options? Is his NFL stock that high? It wasn’t a few years ago, and it’s only seemed to go down a little more. So what is Jim Harbaugh gonna do going forward is a big question hanging over Ann Arbor right now.”

Now, it’s worth noting that “ego” might be an overplayed term. Objectively speaking, there’s nothing egotistical about seeking more security in your job status. That’s why you negotiate.

Earlier this week, Manuel told reporters that he and Harbaugh would discuss a new deal at the end of the season and that was always the plan for them. With an incentive-laden, low buyout deal that goes for three seasons, it stands to reason why that would be seen as kicking the can down the road instead of adding clarity for the future.

We will have to wait and see what happens, but each day that goes before the early national signing period on Wednesday without a deal adds more and more uncertainty to where this is heading. Buckle up!