Salary disparity is helping coaches gain power

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If the new dynamic of coaches and General Managers becomes a trend, look for more coaches to win — and for more General Managers to lose — power struggles.

The leverage comes from the pay scale.  Coaches are not getting $5 million or more per year; General Managers are in the range of $2 million annually.  If a me-or-him vibe emerges between coach and G.M., the coach is more likely to win.

That’s what happened in Philly, with G.M. Howie Roseman accepting a job restructuring that gives him a bump in title but removes him from the personnel department, giving the keys to Chip Kelly.  If owner Jeffrey Lurie had decided to get rid of Kelly, Lurie would have owed Kelly $19.5 million.

Of course, Lurie could have tried to trade Kelly, but Kelly could have blocked that by digging in his feet and saying, “If you don’t want me here, then fire me.  And pay me.”

In San Francisco, G.M. Trent Baalke won the power battle in part because it cost the 49ers nothing to let Jim Harbaugh walk away.  But it cost the 49ers plenty of goodwill by creating the impression that they couldn’t find a way to work it out a successful coach.

For other teams, the P.R. fallout coupled with what usually would be a significant buyout obligation will result in ownership finding a way to keep the coach happy, and employed.

16 responses to “Salary disparity is helping coaches gain power

  1. “The leverage comes from the pay scale. Coaches are not getting $5 million or more per year; General Managers are in the range of $2 million annually. If a me-or-him vibe emerges between coach and G.M., the coach is more likely to win.”

    That makes zero sense, try again. Lol.

    But seriously, coaches should stick to coaching…Doug Marrone showed he has no clue how to manage a roster. Asking for more power over the GM was a joke.

    I hope the Jets take him, I really do.

    If 15-17 is “turning around the Bills,” then Jauron and Gailey turned them around too.

  2. “In San Francisco, G.M. Trent Baalke won the power battle in part because it cost the 49ers nothing to let Jim Harbaugh walk away.”

    So losing the ability to win games, much less be a top competitor in the NFC, equals “cost nothing”.

    Got it. Thank you. Made a mental note to myself.

  3. You don’t see this in New England, Seattle, Pittsburgh… there’s a reason these teams will be dominating for years to come. Good ownership = Good Management = Good Teams.

    js

  4. Which explains Buffalo how? The GM is still in place and the coach is gone with a guaranteed salary?

  5. When all you look at is money you tend to believe it is the best gauge of effectiveness. Both positions are important the coach makes the most money because he is the one in the spotlight. Your premise means Mike Wallace is the most powerful guy in Miami.

  6. jshawaii22: Pittsburgh just made it back to the playoffs after 2 years of not being there. Seattle were 4-12, 5-11, 7-9*, 7-9* in the four years prior to this recent 3 year upturn (* indicates under Pete Carroll) their recent success coincides perfectly with hitting on a QB selected in the middle rounds and making minimum salary, we’ll see if the “dominance” continues now that Wilson’s salary will be going up at least $18 million per year and the cap room to keep other players is no longer there. Not saying they will fall off but the abilities of their management team will now be put on full display.

  7. This seems like a silly premise. If the GM gives the coach an opt out clause which pays the same for coaching or sitting out, guess who holds the power?

  8. If owner Jeffrey Lurie had decided to get rid of Kelly, Lurie would have owed Kelly $19.5 million.
    ====================================

    Holy cow, for nineteen and a half million dollars, if I were Kelly I may have tried to get Lurie to ax me.

  9. We’ve all seen this movie before. There’s only been like 2 coaches ever who could accurately pick talent. This will not go well. Hell, most GM’s can’t make sound picks.

  10. Actually, to billionaire owners a differential of $3M is relative peanuts. Eg Dolphin owner, Stephen Ross has donated to his alma mater, University of Michigan over $200M in recent years. $3M is just chump change to these guys.

  11. @atwatercrushesokoye: your logic is poor. The abilities of the Seahawks management had already been on full display. It was they that took over a devastated roster from those losing seasons you cited and built themselves up from nothing. They drafted that quarterback they didn’t have to pay 20 mil a year as well as a ton of other players in late rounds of the draft they’ve gotten elite play out of on their rookie contracts. And they’ve ably replaced veterans they haven’t or couldn’t re-sign with new rookies they’ve drafted while keeping their core together. To dismiss their front office just because they haven’t had to pay their quarterback they drafted 20 mil is delusional on your part. No other team had drafted as well as they have since their current front office took over.

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