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James Franklin Signs New 10-Year Penn State Contract Worth $8.5M Annually

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVNovember 23, 2021

G Fiume/Getty Images

Penn State head football coach James Franklin has signed a new 10-year contract to remain with the Nittany Lions after being rumored as a candidate for the LSU and USC coaching vacancies.

Stewart Mandel of The Athletic shared the details of Franklin's new deal:

Stewart Mandel @slmandel

James Franklin's new deal is 10 years at $8.5M per year.<br><br>-- $7M salary<br>-- $500K retention bonus<br>-- $1M life insurance loan<br><br>The school buyout is his full remaining salary + loan.<br><br>His buyout if he leaves this year is $12M, $8M next year, $6M in '23. <br><br>This is his Jimbo contract.

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg first reported Tuesday that Franklin's situation is "expected to be settled very soon" as the idea of rebuilding the Tigers' or Trojans' roster wasn't "overly appealing" for the 49-year-old Pennsylvania native. 

In October, Franklin addressed the LSU and USC speculation by pointing to his past actions of staying at Penn State amid rumors of a potential move:

"I think I have shown my loyalty to this team, to this program, to this community. I think I've been pretty consistent with that. There's times that you're put in challenging situations, and I just always want to be able, when I say something, it's done, and it's in stone. And when you're talking about the future, that can be challenging at times.
"So I am fiercely loyal to Penn State. I am fiercely loyal, most importantly, to these players and the staff. But there's a lot of moving parts with all of these things."

Franklin, who signed a six-year contract extension worth up to $38.2 million in 2019, took over the Nittany Lions in 2014. It marked his second head coaching stint following three years at Vanderbilt.

The 2016 winner of the Woody Hayes Trophy as college football's top coach has guided Penn State to a 67-32 record across eight seasons, but the team's bowl record over that span is 3-3, and it's posted a mediocre 11-9 mark since the start of the 2020 campaign.

Last week, 247Sports' Cooper Petagna reported it was possible Franklin and Penn State were "kind of heading for a mutual departure" with the coach having potentially "maxed it out" in terms of what he could do with the resources available.

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While the Nittany Lions' 7-4 record this season doesn't jump off the page, three of their four losses came against teams ranked in the Top Six at the time of the meeting, and the other was a nine-overtime defeat to Illinois. They wrap up the regular season with another tough test against No. 7 Michigan State on the road Saturday.

While they weren't among the nation's elite, they only had one bad loss and scored two wins over ranked opponents in Wisconsin and Auburn. Add in the nation's fifth-ranked recruiting class for 2022 (via 247Sports), and there's reason for optimism.

Rittenberg previously noted Franklin was set to sign an "enhanced contract," but doing so amid rumors is nothing new in the coaching world, and it doesn't eliminate the possibility of a move in the future if a high-profile job were to become available.

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