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Bill O’Brien’s buyout would be affordable for an NFL owner

Bill O'Brien AP

Penn State has signed head coach Bill O’Brien to a new contract that would make it very expensive for him to leave for another college job, but affordable for him to leave for an NFL job.

O’Brien’s new contract, which has been posted online by Penn State, gives him a $1 million raise this season as a reward for doing stellar work last year in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. But it’s the new contract’s buyout clause that will be of interest to NFL fans.

If O’Brien chooses to leave Penn State for another college job, he would have to pay Penn State an amount equal to his total pay times the number of years left on his contract. That total pay includes not just his base salary but the additional income from radio and TV deals, and his portion of the school’s endorsement deal with Nike. That additional income is about $1.35 million a year, and its inclusion in the buyout clause means O’Brien will almost certainly not quit to coach another college team — no college would spend the $13 million it would take just to get O’Brien away from Penn State next year, before paying his salary.

But if O’Brien quits to take an NFL job, he would only have to pay an amount equal to the remaining years on his contract times his base salary, without the additional income. So it would be relatively inexpensive for O’Brien to jump to the NFL.

In 2013, O’Brien’s buyout for an NFL job would be $7.73 million. That’s expensive, although it’s something that any NFL owner could afford if he believes O’Brien is the coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl. In 2014, O’Brien’s buyout would drop to $3.41 million. That’s very affordable for an NFL owner. And the buyout gets down to $3.30 million in 2015 and $1.73 million in 2016, assuming O’Brien is still working on the same contract by then.

The bottom line is that O’Brien’s new contract means that as long as he’s a college football coach, he’s going to be the coach at Penn State. But the deal gives him an out if he jumps for the NFL.

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23 Responses to “Bill O’Brien’s buyout would be affordable for an NFL owner”
  1. tjacks7 says: Jun 20, 2013 7:50 PM

    My guess is that he’ll be an NFL coach before his contract with Penn State expires. Most likely in 2014 when the buyout drops over 50%.

  2. skoobyfl says: Jun 20, 2013 7:53 PM

    Digging deep & selling him cheap.

  3. mike5011ad says: Jun 20, 2013 8:01 PM

    A Gulfstrean Jet is also affordable to NFL owners, so this really isn’t saying much…

  4. redfield11 says: Jun 20, 2013 8:02 PM

    Understandable if you’re Penn State. Having a huge scandal and him being a bright spot while all these college coaches are getting shot up to NFL in recent years they did a decent job trying to lock him up.

    Any fan whose team fires their head coach after this year would probably be okay with the money for this guy (presuming he keeps to the path he’s on).

  5. thesteelers says: Jun 20, 2013 8:04 PM

    Okay. Now who would want O’Brien?

  6. nfloracle says: Jun 20, 2013 8:06 PM

    It’s no wonder most of us can’t afford to send our kids to college without loans when universities are spending this kind of money on coach salaries. Geesh.

  7. iownyou2 says: Jun 20, 2013 8:20 PM

    nfloracle says: Jun 20, 2013 8:06 PM

    It’s no wonder most of us can’t afford to send our kids to college without loans when universities are spending this kind of money on coach salaries. Geesh.
    ——————————————————

    And just imagine, even with this raise, he isnt even in the top 20 highest paid college coaches. This guy did something incredible with those kids last year and im sure for years to come. And coaches pumping out drug addicts, criminals, murderers are making more than twice what he is.

  8. Patskrieg dot com says: Jun 20, 2013 8:52 PM

    O’Brien sucks and is a fraud. This is the guy that tried to convince the world that the Patriots offense was struggling because Tom Brady sucks. Please throw money at him.

  9. borisbulldog says: Jun 20, 2013 8:58 PM

    Shame on the next NFL owner that hires O’Brien and finds out that none of Belicheats disciples are HC material!

  10. cmich2006 says: Jun 20, 2013 9:11 PM

    nfloracle says: Jun 20, 2013 8:06 PM

    It’s no wonder most of us can’t afford to send our kids to college without loans when universities are spending this kind of money on coach salaries. Geesh.
    ——————————————————

    And just imagine, even with this raise, he isnt even in the top 20 highest paid college coaches. This guy did something incredible with those kids last year and im sure for years to come. And coaches pumping out drug addicts, criminals, murderers are making more than twice what he is.

    ———-–——————————–

    Coaches salaries have no effect on student tuition. Most of the times big time athletic departments pay the university money at the end of the year. If you want to look at rising costs look at the amount of money paid to professors, the resort like amenities for students and bloated administrations.

  11. fingergravy says: Jun 20, 2013 9:33 PM

    ^^^^^^^^
    Too bad B.O.B.’s left nut would be a better coach than Josh McDaniel

  12. tdravens says: Jun 20, 2013 9:38 PM

    “Who’s gonna be O’Brien?””I’ll be O’Brien.””Who am I?””You’re you.””Just me?””Yeah.””Okay….””You don’t want to be you?””Well, if you’re gonna be O’Brien, why can’t I be somebody?””Like who?””Dylan Murphy.””Okay…””What? Now you want to be Dylan Murphy?””Well, I like Dylan.””You can be Colin.””Colin O’Brien.””I’m Dylan Murphy.””I’m Colin O’Brien.”

  13. ninerfan81 says: Jun 20, 2013 9:51 PM

    He’s been an elite recruiter…that loss would hurt bad…but I really think its in his heart to coach in the pros, would be a shame I think his calling is at Penn State.

  14. giantssb42champs says: Jun 21, 2013 12:40 AM

    Does he come with video cameras?

  15. kingdm8 says: Jun 21, 2013 1:20 AM

    Like was stated above, coaches’ salaries aren’t paid by tuition fees. Most athletic programs are self-sustaining, especially programs like Penn State that has numerous big-time boosters that contribute to whatever the football coach makes. If you want to look at what is unfortunate for students, it’s that boosters aren’t giving the same amounts for kids that win academic events. They don’t show those in prime time. Name the last group of kids to win a Rhodes Scholarship. Now tell me the last ten Heisman winners. Exactly.

  16. nickster31 says: Jun 21, 2013 2:34 AM

    For starters, if a college coach is making in the MILLIONS of dollars, you can bet that he has a team that is making the University a TON of money. No school is LOSING money on their football program and is paying that kind of money.

    That being said, what this man has done for Penn State is nothing short of remarkable. Growing up in Pennsylvania, I never thought that Joe Paterno could have been replaced. This guy has taken that school through the kind of year that would kill a lot of programs. He deserves every penny he is making.

    I honestly hope that he never decides to go to the NFL. There have been a TON of coaches try, and VERY few that are successful. Saban, Spurrier, Butch Davis and MANY more, who were at the top of college football and ROYALLY SUCKED in the NFL. Other than Jimmy Johnson, name me a coach that had great success.

    This man can inspire young men, and that is what is needed in the NCAA, especially Penn State.

  17. nickster31 says: Jun 21, 2013 2:39 AM

    Patskrieg dot com says:
    Jun 20, 2013 8:52 PM
    O’Brien sucks and is a fraud. This is the guy that tried to convince the world that the Patriots offense was struggling because Tom Brady sucks. Please throw money at him.

    Know what’s funny? How funny is it going to be for you when Belichick and Brady retire (probably 2 years from now) and the Pats go after this guy?

  18. tommy57 says: Jun 21, 2013 6:29 AM

    I agree with ninerfan. Penn State and the kids there can benefit from his presence, now and in the future. He can build the BoB legacy atop the ashes of the past. I hope he stays and sees a bigger “life” role than just an NFL coach.

  19. ColtsWinColtsWin!! says: Jun 21, 2013 8:31 AM

    I don’t know Bill O Brien, seems like he would have to be a tough, thickskinned, good person to take on the job at Penn State after that fiasco. With that said, the man can all out coach a football team! Who here thought Penn State would finish anywhere but dead last in the Big Ten after the mass exodus from happy valley. I can’t tell you where he will be coaching in 5 years but I can tell you that wherever that is I wouldn’t want to be on the other side of the field.

  20. thetooloftools says: Jun 21, 2013 9:23 AM

    Don’t worry. If he has a bad year The Nittany Pinheads will be screaming for his scalp anyway.

  21. ratbirdsrule says: Jun 21, 2013 9:27 AM

    State Penn shouldn’t even have football

  22. psuorioles says: Jun 21, 2013 9:28 AM

    Anybody who says O’Brien sucks and who would want him… I ask you to look at the tape of Matt McGloin before and after O’Brien… I’m a Penn State fan and I couldn’t stand McGloin, BUT O’Brien actually turned him into a pretty good QB. If my memory serves me correctly, he led the Big 10 in passing % and TDs.

    O’Brien also had this PSU team playing extremely hard the entire season. These kids could have just quit with everything they had happen to them and really no bowl game to play for, but they were battling every Saturday.

  23. vegasdestroyer says: Jun 21, 2013 9:43 AM

    After BOB has three straight losing years at PSU, even the stinking team by the mistake-by-the-lake won’t take him of their hands. BOB is a liar and he makes the ex-PSU AD look honest in comparison

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