6 Highest-Paid Coaches in NFL History

Brandon Alisoglu@@BrandonAlisogluCorrespondent IMay 19, 2013

6 Highest-Paid Coaches in NFL History

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    The doldrums of the NFL offseason has lulled us into desperate state, meaning we have to figure out who the highest paid NFL coaches are.

    To some, it may seem like an effort to fill the football-less void we find ourselves in. And you would be absolutely right.

    But I need something to hold on to. So do you.

    Coaches’ salaries are kept quiet, meaning there is some variation between sources. We can't always nail down the details, but a range will be provided when the specifics are hazy.


    All contract numbers are sourced from Spotrac.com, unless otherwise linked.  

6. Jeff Fisher: $7 Million

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    Not many people get canned from one job only to receive truckloads of cash from a competing employer.

    Well, Jeff Fisher isn't like most people.

    Fisher led the Tennessee Titans for 16 years and finished 21 games over .500. No wonder the St. Louis Rams wanted him so badly for their rebuilding project.

    The Rams seemingly made the right call, and appear to be a franchise on the rise. 

6. Pete Carroll: $6.6-7 Million

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    Pete Carroll was living in his own version of Camelot at USC. His teams were always in the national championship mix, he was making cash and his sunny demeanor matched the weather perfectly.

    So the Seattle Seahawks had to pay a pretty penny to pry him from the SoCal sunshine and move him to the rainy Pacific Northwest.

    Well, that and pending NCAA sanctions, but the fact remains that he got paid. How much is a question of uncertainty as Spotrac has him making $6.6 million and Forbes has him at $7 million.

    Either way, here's betting he isn't hurting for cash. 

6. Mike Shanahan: $7 Million

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    Daniel Snyder gained infamy by consistently trying to buy his way into the playoffs. Every offseason, he could be counted on to shell out way too much money for an overhyped free agent or two (Bruce Smith, Albert Haynesworth, etc.) to find the quick fix.

    Somewhere along the line, Snyder got smart and realized that head coaches’ salaries don't count against the cap. Thus, the Washington Redskins brought in Mike Shanahan for $7 million per year.

    So far, so good, as things started turning around in 2012 behind rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris. But Shanahan had better do a better job of keeping Griffin healthy, lest he find someone else raking in all that cash.

3. Bill Belichick: $7.5 Million

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    Let's be clear: Bill Belichick has earned his money.

    He took a franchise that had never reached the mountaintop and created a perennial contender, one that now has three Super Bowl championships. Granted, the New England Patriots haven't won one since 2004, but they're always a strong bet.

    The Hoodie hasn't shown any signs of slowing down as he's aged. He'll likely continue to menace the AFC East for another decade.

    And at a salary of $7.5 million, why not stick around?

1.5. Sean Payton: $7.5-8 Million

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    Things are starting to get a little weird here.

    There were reports that Sean Payton inked a contract to make him the highest-paid coach in the NFL ($8 million). However, Spotrac has Payton making a meager $7.5 million. 

    Regardless of the actual dollar amount, Payton had a great bargaining chip: the 2012 season. The New Orleans Saints fell apart during his mandated absence, giving him all the leverage he needed once his deal was voided by the league office. 

    Well played, Mr. Payton.

1. Mike Holmgren: $8 Million

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    How much does relevancy cost? About $8 million.

    The Seattle Seahawks weren't much to look at prior to Mike Holmgren's arrival. The team was an afterthought thanks to little success and zero Super Bowl appearances. 

    But Holmgren changed all of that.

    He brought in a new attitude that the Seahawks rode all to the way to the title game. While they ultimately fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers (and possibly the referees), the Holmgren era killed the "Sea Chickens" moniker for good.