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Jim Harbaugh Faces $58M Conundrum Over Reunion With Former Michigan Star

Published 02/21/2024, 11:06 AM EST

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Another Michigan member is about to join the Chargers! Safe to say, Jim Harbaugh has resourced his experience and contacts at the Chargers quite well. Now that the Chargers staff is stuffed with prominent coaches from across the college football landscape, many of them being former Michigan staff, Harbaugh is ready to move to revamp the roster. The only problem ceasing him from doing so is the $45 million salary cap looming above him as the first crisis of his head coaching stint at the Chargers.

Harbaugh and Hortiz are already around $50 million above the salary cap. Although they have restructured Corey Linsley’s contract freeing up about $10 million above the cap budget, they are still knee-deep. Amidst the dilemma, another ‘perfect’ fit emerges for the Chargers. ESPN’s Matt Bowen has pegged the Chargers as a fit for OT/OG Mike Onwenu, a former Michigan player. However, Steven Haglund is “not sure they’ll be able to afford him.” If Harbaugh decides to add the Michigan alum to their roster, it would be a direct $14.5 million addition to their over-the-cap finances, as the current PFF projection for him is 4 years/$14.5 million per year, making it a $58 million total.

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“Coach Jim Harbaugh would love to add a 6-foot-3, 330-pound people-mover in the run game. And Onwenu proved with the Patriots this season that he also has the ability to hold an anchor in pass protection at either guard or right tackle, which would help Justin Herbert. Los Angeles has to get better up front this offseason, so look for the club to make some cuts in order to clear cap space and address this unit,” Matt Bowen said.

Onwenu allowed three sacks on 489 pass-blocking snaps in 2023. Well, if the Chargers make wise salary cuts, they can possibly land Onwenu, given the rumors surrounding Ekeler leaving the franchise.

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Austin Ekeler projected to leave Jim Harbaugh and Co.

The rumors started circulating at the beginning of the season that 2023 would be the last season of Ekeler with LA. Failed extension and trade talks all but guaranteed his departure from LA as he teased his shift at the end of the season as well.

READ ALSO: Saquon Barkley Slapped With Harsh Reality Check as Jim Harbaugh’s Plans Grab Limelight After Giants Setback

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Matt Bowen also had a projection ready for Ekeler. He has “the Chiefs pegged for Austin Ekeler.” With the radically moving hiring and firing department, Harbaugh is trying his best to acquire the best of players he can to set up his roster at the bar he has set.

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Written by:

Pankti Parmar

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Pankti Parmar is an NFL news writer at EssentiallySports. She combines her educational background in psychology with a passion for sports to delve into the minds of athletes and their game strategies. She's our resident expert on Jim Harbaugh and played a pivotal role in our play-by-play coverage of Harbaugh's journey from the Wolverines to the Chargers.
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Edited by:

Tripti Sarda