Report: LSU Was Ready to Offer Jimbo Fisher 8-Year, $125M Contract to Leave Texas A&M

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 8, 2021

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25: Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher is interviewed on the field during the  Southwest Classic college football game between the Texas A&M Aggies and Arkansas Razorbacks on September 25, 2021 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.  (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

LSU was reportedly prepared to go above and beyond to lure Jimbo Fisher back to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

According to The Action Network's Brett McMurphy, the university was willing to put an eight-year, $125 million contract on the table for the Texas A&M head coach. That would've been the biggest deal signed during a wild college football coaching carousel.

Spotrac @spotrac

Recently reported CFB Coach Contracts<br><br>Lincoln Riley (USC): 10 yrs, $110M<br>Brian Kelly (LSU): 10 yrs, $100M<br>Mel Tucker (MSU): 10 yrs, $95M<br>James Franklin (PSU): 10 yrs, $85M<br>Mario Cristobal (UM): 10 yrs, $80M<br>Billy Napier (UF): 7 yrs, $51.8M<br>Lane Kiffin (MISS): 4 yrs, $30M

Fisher won a national championship at Florida State in 2013 and served as LSU's offensive coordinator from 2000 to 2006. The 56-year-old was a natural candidate to succeed Ed Orgeron.

Lincoln Riley now famously denied any interest in coaching the Tigers' vacancy but—important in retrospect—didn't specify he was returning to Oklahoma. He left for USC instead.

Fisher, on the other hand, was more vehement about wanting to stick around at A&M when addressing speculation about the LSU job.

"We're gonna recruit an unbelievable class this year," he told reporters in November. "So I'm the dumbest human being on God's earth to recruit all these guys to A&M so I can go across over there [to LSU] and go play against them."

The Aggies are third in 247Sports' composite team rankings for 2022.

While Fisher's championship pedigree sets him apart from many of his peers, some LSU fans might feel the Tigers dodged a bullet given the price athletic director Scott Woodward was open to paying.

Texas A&M hasn't won more than nine games since Fisher arrived in 2018, and that streak will continue into 2021 following an 8-4 regular season. The Aggies narrowly missed out on the College Football Playoff in 2020 on the strength of an 8-1 record, but that was such a fluky year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In general, it seems safe to assume Texas A&M was hoping to get a little more from Fisher to this point in his tenure. And just when the program appeared to be turning a corner—an upset of No. 1 Alabama on Oct. 9—it closed the year with losses to Ole Miss and LSU over its final three games.

Even in this market, it's difficult to justify paying Fisher $13 million annually.

For LSU, the Brian Kelly era isn't exactly off to a roaring start.

Mike Bundt @Mike_Bundt

Brian Kelly making his welcome speech at halftime of the Ohio/LSU basketball game tonight. <a href="https://t.co/Jk3bjAvrh8">pic.twitter.com/Jk3bjAvrh8</a>

However, Kelly's resume is comparable to Fisher's. Notre Dame didn't win a national title under his watch, but five straight 10-win seasons and two playoff appearances are probably the Fighting Irish's ceiling right now.

Paying Kelly $100 million over 10 years is risky but arguably a more sound investment than going even higher for Fisher's services.