Jon Gruden hasn’t coached in nine years. Over the final six years of his career, he lost six more games than he won, at 45-51.
And yet he’ll make $100 million over the next 10 years.
Without knowing how much of the deal is guaranteed, it’s impossible to know whether it’s a firm $100 million. It benefits both sides to create the impression that Gruden is committed to the team, and the team is committed to him, for as long as John Madden coached the team.
It also benefits other coaches to generate the impression that Gruden is making $10 million per year, even if the reality is that the deal is backloaded with non-guaranteed money that drives up the average payout in the guaranteed years. A decade ago, it seemed inevitable that the going rate for accomplished coaches would soar past $10 million per year. Gruden’s deal will give other coaches a basis for arguing for more than whatever has been offered — especially if those coaches have a winning record and/or more than one Super Bowl appearance.
Really, if Gruden is worth $10 million per year (assuming that’s the real number), how much is Bill Belichick worth? Would it be $20 million? More?
Apart from those who’d be worth more than Gruden, having him at $10 million per year (assuming that’s the real number) should helped coaches with less experience. Which comes in handy as five other jobs soon will be filled.
Given that the Gruden details undoubtedly will be used to help other coaches in their own talks, don’t be shocked if more details emerge about Gruden’s actual deal, given that it will benefit other teams for the truth to come out — if the truth is that someone is puffing the numbers in order to make the Gruden contract look better than it is.