Report: Iowa State's Matt Campbell Rejected 8-year, $68.5M Contract Offer from Lions

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 20, 2021

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game against Oregon, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Matt Campbell apparently could have been the head coach of the Detroit Lions.

According to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports (h/t Garrett Stepien of 247Sports), the Iowa State head coach turned down an eight-year, $68.5 million contract offer from the NFC North team. Instead, he chose to remain at the collegiate level with the Cyclones, and the Lions hired Dan Campbell.

The Lions weren't the only NFL team reportedly interested in Campbell, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported in January that the New York Jets were "very high" on the 41-year-old.

However, Iowa State announced in February that it signed the coach to a three-year extension. His deal now runs through the 2028 campaign and features "a total of $3 million for staff salary enhancements over the next three years."

That Campbell stayed is welcome news for Iowa State, as the program has improved from its 3-9 mark in his first season in 2016.

The Cyclones went 9-3 during the 2020 campaign and defeated Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. They also figure to challenge in the Big 12 again in 2021 thanks to the return of quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Breece Hall.

Iowa State checked in at No. 6 in Bleacher Report's January "super-early" rankings.

As for Detroit, it missed the playoffs in each of the last four years and finished in last place in the NFC North in each of the last three. While taking the Lions job would have given Campbell an opportunity to move to the NFL level, the team isn't exactly built for immediate success.

That stands in contrast to the Cyclones at this point.