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Elston's Michigan deal worth more than $1.8 million, is not tied to Harbaugh's future

The former Notre Dame assistant coach is set to earn more than $600k per year on average

Regardless of what does or does not happen with Jim Harbaugh atop the University of Michigan football program, former longtime Notre Dame assistant coach Mike Elston is set up with a guaranteed three-year deal from the Wolverines.

Per the contract released Wednesday from University of Michigan athletics, Elston is guaranteed $1.875 million for a three-year term slated to run through January 10, 2025.

Elston, who had been at Notre Dame as understudy to Brian Kelly throughout Kelly’s entire 12-year run in South Bend, Indiana, did not accompany Kelly to LSU last month – despite an offer from Kelly and an in-person visit to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Elston had been in charge of the Irish defense during the program’s preparations for its New Years Six Fiesta Bowl appearance against Oklahoma State, when the Irish failed to hold a 28-7 lead in an eventual 37-35 loss.

Per sources, though Elston was not a candidate for the opening to run the Irish defense, he was earning a salary with the Notre Dame program at or above $700,000 per year.

Elston’s Michigan pact clearly outlines that he is not bound by the presence, or lack thereof, of Harbaugh, who’s again receiving consistent chatter regarding a potential return to head coaching in the NFL.

There are nine current NFL openings. Harbaugh guided San Francisco to a Super Bowl appearance before he took over at his alma mater.

Also of note to Elston’s deal: it doesn’t appear to hinge on Michigan defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald being present in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As FootballScoop reported hours ago, MacDonald has emerged as an extremely strong candidate to return to the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens as John Harbaugh’s defensive coordinator.