Mark Davis reminds everyone there’s no salary cap for coaches

AP

Once upon a time, teams aggressively relied upon the lack of a salary cap for coaches to justify spending as much as they wanted in order to attract the head coaches and assistant coaches they needed. At some point since the Buccaneers underscored the importance of a head coach by giving up two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and $8 million for the rights to Jon Gruden, teams decided that a coach doesn’t have that much value.

Or, more accurately, teams decided not to acknowledge that a coach doesn’t have that much value, by not investing that kind of value in coaches.

That may be changing, at least in one NFL city. For the first time in a long time, an NFL owner publicly pointed out that NFL teams have no spending restrictions when it comes to paying coaches.

“The National Football League has a salary cap for players, and so it’s very competitive,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said during Tuesday’s press conference (re)introducing Jon Gruden. “And there’s parity, so to speak. And I think one of the big differences in teams is the front office or the coaching staffs and those things. There’s no cap there.”

Indeed there isn’t. And based on the lack of growth in the coaching market relative to the salary cap and player compensation, there’s plenty more money that could be and should be paid to the best coaches.

Really, what makes more sense, spending $25 million per year in a capped environment on Derek Carr or spending $25 million in the absence of a cap on Bill Belichick?

The NFL necessarily colludes in a variety of ways, and it’s fair to wonder based on the failure of the coaching market to grow in a manner commensurate with other objective indicators like the salary cap and player compensation whether owners have a wink-nod understanding that coaches won’t be getting paid as much as maybe they should or could.

Davis, in a desire to exit Oakland and enter Las Vegas the right way, is ignoring whatever preferences may have been communicated from the Management Council to the teams about blowing the curve on coaching pay. Or maybe the league is looking the other way, in an effort to help the Raiders thrive in their eventual new city.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see whether other teams will once again embrace the “no salary cap in coaching” mantra, and behave accordingly.

47 responses to “Mark Davis reminds everyone there’s no salary cap for coaches

  1. There might not be a cap for coaches, but if a team spends a lot on coaches, that surely translates to increased prices at the stadium. That money isn’t free and I doubt owners will simply eat all of that cost.

  2. The problem with a Salary Cap for coaches is the coaches everyone wants are older, experienced, rich able to do TV analysis and not willing to give everything up for a capped amount. There are 32 head coaches and a few “Kaepernicks” like Jeff Fisher, that no one wants, but still demand a lot of money

  3. Coaching salaries haven’t grown because established guys almost never hit the open market. Coaches don’t want to let their deals expire and be a lame duck in their final year

  4. “or spending $25 million in the absence of a cap on Bill Belichick?”
    ____________________

    Rough break for the Raiders that Jon Gruden is nowhere close to being Bill Belichick. This Gruden deal will undoubtedly drive up coaching salaries but you won’t see any other 10 year deals. Gruden won a Super Bowl in Year 1 with Tampa and still made it only 7 seasons. Fans will riot if a turnaround takes more than 2-3 years so a true 5-year plan isn’t even realistic these days so why would you ever give out a deal longer than that?

  5. yeah because the NFL is known for looking the other way for the Raiders…lol! it’s sad and pathetic how you and your writers constantly bash the Raiders. it’s going to suck for you guys the next 10 years covering at least 3 of their championships.

  6. I’m not sure why teams would need to pay their coaches more except in the Raiders’ case where they wanted to lure a particular coach away from a non-coaching job. Are there a lot of outstanding coaches out there who are not working in the NFL because the money isn’t good enough? It seems to me that teams should just have to pay coaches whatever they’ll accept.

  7. How can everyone memory be so impossibly short??!!! Is he going to build a championship caliber team only to leave and go to the main competitor at the Zero hour again??!!! What is the price/cost of that???!!!!

  8. The coaching market hasn’t grown because franchises continue to be unimaginative, often choosing to rehire previously-failed castoffs (Gruden, potentially McDaniels, potentially Shurmur) instead of taking a chance on someone who could be much more innovative. That’s why you get the same old boring styles, with small samples of something truly exciting (McVay in LA, Pederson in Philly).

  9. “Or maybe the league is looking the other way…”

    Or maybe there just aren’t all that many candidates that are so head and shoulders above others that a team feels compelled to back the money truck up to their door

  10. With only 32 of these jobs available in the world, the pay scale can & will always be low, without collusion, due to the extremely high number of people who want them. That’s why only a handful of coaches make the higher end money ($7.5 and up). They know they would get it from one of the other teams paying a lower tiered (and less accomplished) coach if they became available.

  11. raidernation210 says:
    January 10, 2018 at 10:40 am
    yeah because the NFL is known for looking the other way for the Raiders…lol! it’s sad and pathetic how you and your writers constantly bash the Raiders. it’s going to suck for you guys the next 10 years covering at least 3 of their championships

    Yeah but why would PFT cover superbowls from 1976, 1980 and 1983?

  12. There have been 11 coaches appointed to coach NFL teams they previously coached, none of them have gone to a Super Bowl on their second stint. Statistics say that Davis is wrong and has way overcommitted to secure Gruden.

  13. You imply that coaches are underpaid. They really aren’t, given the guaranteed contacts. Del Rio signed a four year extension in early 2017. He was fired and will now get the remaining balance of the deal. Naturally, it might be offset if he gets hired elsewhere. Very few coaches just walk away at the end of a contact. Most have remaining years. They get paid handsomely not to work.

  14. Not sure your analysis is very good. Given the lack of transparency on the salaries of the true top end coaches, one can’t conclude they’re is no growth there. I would venture to say that the guys at the top have seen substantial increases in their salaries–but I can’t prove that either. But given the fact they never go anywhere, it probably follows they’re being well compensated. The fact there isn’t growth for mid-level coaches shouldn’t be all that surprising. If you think about it, the large majority of those mid-level coaches will be OUT in 2-4 seasons. For those unjustly canned due to circumstances outside their control but who otherwise did a good job, they tend to do better on their contracts with a second bite at the apple. If they were awful in try #1 and get a second bite at the apple, it doesn’t seem reasonable they should have their compensation increased–in fact getting a second opportunity is probably more important if they were abject failures round one (though this may be age dependent, too, since younger coaches can afford the long play and rebuild their reps before taking a second bite). Further, coaching contracts (unlike player contracts) are generally guaranteed. So that could suppress long-term growth since arguably, if one considers total dollars spent by teams for coaches (both those working and those being paid to NOT work), there very well could be growth in total dollars spent. Staffs have also grown by leaps and bounds (albeit, a lot of that growth is for young “coaches”/grunts that don’t earn a ton). The bottom line is that looking at nominal annual salaries of mid-level coaches (the only figures that tend to be released) and observing relatively flat or low growth doesn’t necessarily mean “good” coaches aren’t being paid or that the total staff itself isn’t seeing more dollars thrown its way (but may split among more individuals–including those being paid to NOT coach). A more complete analysis is necessary. It makes no sense for owners to penny pinch on coaches if it makes such a large difference. The answer likely lies in the fact that most coaches aren’t that different from each other (other than the top level guys) and more coaches are being paid to NOT work. So nominal growth in mid-level annual salaries may be very rationally suppressed due to mitigating economic factors.

  15. Browns front office looking like a real front office…dorsey, highsmith, wolf depodesta etc. Eliot Wolf just signed. Now if Haslam backs off and Browns get new HC, things are competitive again for Browns.

  16. The sky is the limit….or is it ?;;;give these coaches and players limitless funds..but wait…stands 1/2 full in stadiums, viewership and TV ratings plummeting in the last 3 years…wait until the TV advertisers who are buying these broadcast rights re-negotiate their fee’s with the NFL for the next contract. They will then show us and the NFL where “reality meets the road”…we may see a much different picture as the NFL, with it’s unrelenting greed and thirst for cash, starts to implode !…

  17. For years this has been a strategy. No cap on coaches, so teams that want to win will spend the money to hire the best coaches.

    Not just that, but also increase the number of coaches and support staff.

  18. Belichick is the only HC who makes a huge difference, and I would pay him a lot.
    Most other HCs are as good or as bad as their teams’ personnel. Take 2 identical HCs put one on a team with a good GM and one on a team with a bad GM. The first HC will be viewed as successful, the second will get fired.
    While there are bad HCs, there are also acceptable ones. Rather than overpay an acceptable one, I’d let him walk and find another.

  19. Mark Davis has to compete with colleges in the salary arena. Nick Saban makes more than any other NFL coach. I’m also factoring in under the table money from the boosters.

  20. A great move by Mark Davis.
    As far as PR and marketing goes, the Gruden hire is already a huge hit; it’s been the talk of the NFL for a couple of weeks now, upstaging the Playoff games and that Patriots story.
    The next couple of years the Raiders and Gruden wll be one of the top teams to follow, with fans super-energized and haters rooting for them to fail, just like old man Davis loved it.
    There is talent on the roster and Gruden, by all accounts, is a bright football mind, the next few years should be a hell of a fun ride for Raider Nation.

  21. raidernation210 says:
    January 10, 2018 at 10:40 am
    yeah because the NFL is known for looking the other way for the Raiders…lol! it’s sad and pathetic how you and your writers constantly bash the Raiders. it’s going to suck for you guys the next 10 years covering at least 3 of their championships.
    —————————————-
    Championships? LMMFAO!! How about just have a winning season on a consistent basis?

  22. Bottom line: Win, lose, or draw, this was the right move at the right time. Gruden will fill seats. His first year will be a pass because he has to clean up that defense. Year two, he’ll win. There is enough talent to justify that statement. If he get’s Carr to be at 2016 levels (and I think he’ll get him much farther than that), then double digit winning seasons for the next 5 -7 years are not unrealistic. Carr is leagues better than Gannon or Brad Johnson ever were (both Minnesota cast-offs).

    For Mark, this is all about marketing. Gruden will fill seats and merchandise sales will go through the roof. He’ll get his $100M investment back in the first two years. And, this will sell the PSLs and fill the seats in Vegas. Very smart from that perspective.

  23. difference, and I would pay him a lot.
    Most other HCs are as good or as bad as their teams’ personnel. Take 2 identical HCs put one on a team with a good GM and one on a team with a bad GM. The first HC will be viewed as successful, the second will get fired.
    While there are bad HCs, there are also acceptable ones. Rather than overpay an acceptable one, I’d let him walk and find another.

    What you say is true and I’d also like to add qbs. Belichek is great but he’s had brady for all but a handful of games in NE. Prior to that in Cleveland he was about a 500 coach. Did he become great because he learned things and readjusted it is he truly great because of Brady? It’s an interesting theory that we will never really know.

    Regardless he has earned his pay. Chunky had some success but he won with a roster that he was mostly not responsible for. People talking like he is the greatest thing since sliced bread need to chill.

  24. If Gruden can get all the players to respectfully stand for the National Anthem it will be money well spent. If not, attendance and ratings will continue to decline while the public finds other sport and entertainment options that respect them and their country.

  25. I like that Mark Davis guy! He can write me a check anytime!

    Regards,
    Jon Gruden
    Former BSPN analyst

  26. Dear God then, Bill Belichick has better opt out of New England so that he can ride the current “going rate (read: CA$H IN) which calculates to… hmmm… $100M for Gruden, a one-time Super Bowl winner — which means… hmmm… $300M for Belichick, since he’s won three (3) SB rings with New England. Put in that resignation letter to Mr. Kraft now, Bill, and hit the head coaching market!

  27. raidernation210 says:
    January 10, 2018 at 10:40 am
    yeah because the NFL is known for looking the other way for the Raiders…lol! it’s sad and pathetic how you and your writers constantly bash the Raiders. it’s going to suck for you guys the next 10 years covering at least 3 of their championships.

    —————-

    Nobody cares about off-season championships

  28. wallabear says:
    January 10, 2018 at 12:32 pm
    Dear God then, Bill Belichick has better opt out of New England so that he can ride the current “going rate (read: CA$H IN) which calculates to… hmmm… $100M for Gruden, a one-time Super Bowl winner — which means… hmmm… $300M for Belichick, since he’s won three (3) SB rings with New England. Put in that resignation letter to Mr. Kraft now, Bill, and hit the head coaching market!

    —————

    Correction: 5 rings

  29. I’m not saying Belichick isn’t a great coach…but let’s see how amazing he is without probably the best QB to ever play the game. So far we’ve seen one good season from Bill without Brady…and largely the same team went 16-0 with Brady, winning 5 more games. Winning 5 more games thanks to great QB play is usually the difference between making the playoffs and a mediocre or bad season. Funny how lots of great coaches don’t look so great when they don’t have anything special at the QB position. Or how not so great coaches tend to find some success when they do.

  30. Lloyd Christmas has done well for himself to hire Gruden. Too bad it’s all just hype, the raiders are awful and Carr will be out of the league in 3 years.

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