A year after sending Mike Macdonald to Michigan, it sounds like Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is taking him back.
Macdonald is slated to rejoin the Ravens as their defensive coordinator after flourishing in the same role this season for Michigan, per multiple reports. The two sides are expected to strike a formal agreement later this week.
In his one season with the Wolverines, Macdonald rebuilt a porous defense into one of the stingiest units in the country. Michigan went from allowing nearly 30 points per game in 2020 to just 17.4 in 2021, eighth best in the nation, a big reason the team went from the bottom of the Big Ten to the top.
Seeking help for his defense last offseason after firing former DC Don Brown, Jim Harbaugh went to his brother. John Harbaugh recommended Macdonald, a rising coach for the Ravens who was next in line as defensive coordinator. Now that the job is open after Baltimore dismissed Don Martindale following a season in which its defense sunk to 25th in the NFL, Macdonald is returning to fill it.
Macdonald, 34, signed a three-year deal with Michigan that paid him a $1 million base salary in 2021 and allows him to leave freely for a coordinator position in the NFL.
Who will fill Macdonald's shoes in Ann Arbor? One internal candidate is 44-year-old Steve Clinkscale, Michigan's defensive passing game coordinator who joined Jim Harbaugh's staff last May. Behind a fearsome pass rush, the Wolverines held opposing quarterbacks to the 10th fewest yards per attempt in the country.
Meanwhile, Jim Harbaugh has to make a decision on his own future, with a restructured offer from Michigan reportedly sitting on his desk. The university wants him back after the best season of his seven-year tenure, but Harbaugh is said to be considering a return to the NFL.
If he intends to stay, the need to find a new defensive coordinator might hasten his decision.