Despite rumors about his job status over the course of the season, Jimbo Fisher was never close to being fired by Texas A&M because of his contract.
Per The Athletic's Sam Khan Jr. and Andy Staples, firing Fisher was "never on the table" because his buyout was "too prohibitive" for the school.
Those hopes were dashed almost immediately with a 17-14 home loss to Appalachian State on Sept. 10. It looked like the Aggies righted the ship with solid wins over Miami and Arkansas, but they lost six consecutive games from Oct. 1-Nov. 12.
As Texas A&M was mired in its losing streak, reports about Fisher's job status and contract began leaking out.
Connor O'Gara of Saturday Down South (h/t Jim Weber of LostLetterman.com) provided the year-by-year buyout breakdown terms of Fisher's deal:
Jim Weber @JimMWeber
The Jimbo Fisher buyout breakdown via <a href="https://twitter.com/cjogara?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cjogara</a> is just staggering.<br><br>For comparison, Charlie Weis' mind-boggling buyout with Notre Dame was $19 million when he was fired in 2009.<br><br>Notre Dame could have bought out Weis 3 more times & STILL spent less than A&M if they can Jimbo. 🤯 <a href="https://t.co/FHLav2rGtS">pic.twitter.com/FHLav2rGtS</a>
Texas A&M signed Fisher to a four-year contract extension in September 2021 that raised his annual salary from $7.5 million to $9 million. The deal runs through the 2031 season.
By comparison, Evan Bland of the Omaha World-Herald reported the University of Nebraska paid Scott Frost around $16 million after firing him on Sept. 11.
Bland noted the cost for Nebraska would have been around $8 million if it waited to get rid of Frost until Oct. 1 when the buyout halved.
Fisher has been successful during his first five seasons at Texas A&M, but he has struggled to compete regularly with Alabama and Georgia atop the SEC. This season marked his first losing year with the program (5-7).
The Aggies won at least eight games in each of his first four seasons, but they haven't played in the SEC Championship Game since joining the conference in 2012.