Each spring, the NFL Draft comes about with front offices and armchair Fantasy Managers all around the country turning their attention towards team finances. Most of that energy is spent on player salaries and salary caps. As the season goes on and the league starts getting a good look at teams’ performance, attention slowly gears towards coaches.
With Week 4 of the 2022 NFL season in the books already, and some special wins and losses striking fans thus far, it is worth perhaps looking at the salary of the head coaches of the top teams around the league. Get a good one, and they can change the fortunes of a franchise. A dud can mean millions of dollars down the drain.
Just as players have complicated clauses and bonuses written into their contracts, so do coaches. The main difference is that coaches always have guaranteed contracts. If the team is doing well, the contract could be extended. If the team is doing badly, the Coach can be dropped at any time. But the team is still on the hook for his money. Since the coaching staff are not party to the collective bargaining agreement between teams and players, their salary has no bearing on the salary cap. Great news for those Franchises with deep pockets, less so for small-market teams.
Is the highest paid coach the most successful coach?
Every contract is individual to the Coach and the organization, so it is difficult to generalize. Stock options may be included, as could be performance bonuses. Not every franchise publishes financial details of the front office or coaching staff, so there are a few coaches out there who could fall anywhere along the pay spectrum. But the one thing that (we think that) we know is that the highest paid coach in the NFL is also the most successful Coach in the NFL.
Sean McVay is paid $15-18 million per year by the Los Angeles Rams, making him the highest-paid coach in the league, and rightfully so. Since he got Hired in 2017, the Rams haven’t missed the Playoffs. In 2022, they won Super Bowl LVI, becoming the youngest Coach to do so. Bill Belichick is paid $12.5 million per year by the Patriots, with six Super Bowl rings and 22 years of tenure. He is also a three-time AP Coach of the Year and the all-time leader in playoff wins by a coach. In just one year, McVay has gone from the seventh-highest paid Coach in the NFL, with $8.5 million, to surpassing Belichickand with a huge amount.
Top 10 highest-paid NFL coaches
|1. Sean McVay||Los Angeles Rams||$15-18 million|
|2. Bill Belichick||New England Patriots||$12.5 million|
|3. Pete Carroll||Seattle Seahawks||$11 million|
|4. Kyle Shanahan||San Francisco 49ers||$9.5 million|
|5. John Harbaugh||Baltimore Ravens||$9 million|
|6. Frank Reich||Indianapolis Colts||$9 million|
|7. Matt Rhule||Carolina Panthers||$8.5 million|
|8. Mike Tomlin||Pittsburgh Steelers||$8 million|
|9. Andy Reid||Kansas City Chiefs||$8 million|
|10. Sean McDermott||Buffalo Bills||$8 million|
Let’s take a look at what’s in store for the rest of the NFL coaches:
|Ron Rivera||Washington Football Team||$7 million|
|Nick Sirianni||Philadelphia Eagles||$6-7 million|
|Kliff Kingsbury||Arizona Cardinals||$5.5 million|
|Matt LaFleur||Green Bay Packers||$5 million|
|Robert Saleh||New York Jets||$5 million|
|Zac Taylor||Cincinnati Bengals||$4.5 million|
|Mike McCarthy||Dallas Cowboys||$4 million|
|Nathaniel Hackett||Denver Broncos||$4 million|
|Kevin Stefanski||Cleveland Browns||$4 million|
Unknown (13 coaches)
Mike VrabelTennessee Titans, fifth year ($3 million in 2021)
Brandon StaleyLos Angeles Chargers, second year
Dan CampbellDetroit Lions, second year
Arthur SmithAtlanta Falcons, second year
Todd BowlesTampa Bay Buccaneers, first year
Dennis AllenNew Orleans Saints, first year
Doug PedersonJacksonville Jaguars, first year
Josh McDanielsLas Vegas Raiders, first year
Mike McDanielMiami Dolphins, first year
Kevin O’ConnellMinnesota Vikings, first year
Matt EberflusChicago Bears, first year
Brian DabollNew York Giants, first year
Lovie SmithHouston Texans, first year