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Report: Broncos view Jim Harbaugh as backup option to 1 other coach

Jim Harbaugh wearing sunglasses

Nov 16, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh on Tuesday interviewed with the Denver Broncos for their head coach position. It sounds like there is a legitimate chance he could get the job, but one other candidate may have to turn down the position first.

The Broncos view Sean Payton as their No. 1 choice in their head coach search, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. If Payton doesn’t want the job, Harbaugh reportedly would then become the top target.

Payton will have plenty of options, and Denver could be a tough sell for him. The Broncos gave up significant draft capital to acquire Russell Wilson in a blockbuster trade last offseason. They would likely have to give up a first-round pick and more if they hired Payton, who is under contract with the New Orleans Saints through 2024.

Unless Payton sees something in Wilson and Denver’s offense that he knows he can fix coming off a disastrous 2022 season, it is hard to view the Broncos as the best fit for him — especially with the draft pick situation.

Payton did confirm on Sunday that he has spoken with the Broncos, though he cannot formally interview with them until next week.

Recent reports have made Harbaugh sound desperate to get back into the NFL. The Michigan coach seemingly wanted the Minnesota Vikings job last year, but they decided to go in a different direction. Harbaugh admitted at the time that he would have taken it if the Vikings offered.

Payton is said to have his eye on two jobs. One of those positions is now officially open.


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