Jim Harbaugh return to NFL could cost Packers top defensive coordinator target

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It's official: Jim Harbaugh is returning to the NFL. But he could cost the Green Bay Packers a top defensive coordinator candidate.

ESPN reports the Los Angeles Chargers are hiring Harbaugh as their new head coach.

How could this impact the Packers? He could take defensive coordinator Jesse Minter with him. According to Bleacher Report's Jordan Schultz, Harbaugh wants Minter to be part of his coaching staff.

The Packers would already face competition to hire Minter. He has previously interviewed for NFL defensive coordinator jobs, and his stock is soaring after leading Michigan's defense to No. 1 in college football. They allowed only 9.5 points per game en route to a perfect 15-0 record and national championship victory.

Harbaugh's return to the NFL effectively ends any hopes of the Packers hiring him.

Packers could lose out on top Joe Barry replacement after Jim Harbaugh return

No reports have suggested the Packers were interested in Minter, but there's no doubt he could help the defense improve. His Michigan defense was the best in college football this year, playing a significant role in winning a national title. Of all the possible hires the Packers could make to replace Barry, Minter would sit near the top of the list.

The 40-year-old could become one of the hottest head coach candidates in the coming seasons if he continues his rise as an NFL defensive coordinator. He stepped in as interim head coach during Harbaugh's suspension, leading his team to victory.

Mike Macdonald's Baltimore Ravens defense leads the NFL in scoring this season. Minter worked with Macdonald in Baltimore between 2017 and 2020 and then replaced him as Michigan's defensive coordinator. He could bring a similar style of defense to the NFL.

It remains to be seen which direction Matt LaFleur will take to find his new defensive coordinator. He has options.

Whether Minter is on his list of potential Barry replacements is unclear, but it may no longer matter. With Harbaugh reportedly wanting to take Minter with him to Los Angeles, the dream of him replacing Barry is as good as over.

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