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Who are the highest and lowest paid NFL coaches?

In coaching as in quarterbacks, you get what you pay for. Or do you? We take a closer look at the salaries paid to head coaches across the NFL

In coaching as in quarterbacks, you get what you pay for. Or do you? We take a closer look at the salaries paid to head coaches across the NFL
Patrick SmithGetty Images

As the 2023 NFL season begins, fans and armchair quarterbacks will start evaluating their teams’ performance and attention focuses mainly on coaches.

With Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season underway, it is worth looking at the salary of the head coaches of the top teams around the league. Get a good one, and they can change the fortunes of a franchise. A dud can mean millions of dollars down the drain.

Just as players have complicated clauses and bonuses written into their contracts, so do coaches. The main difference is that coaches always have guaranteed contracts. If the team is doing well, the contract could be extended. If the team is doing badly, the coach can be dropped at any time. But the team is still on the hook for his money. Since the coaching staff are not party to the collective bargaining agreement between teams and players, their salary has no bearing on the salary cap. Great news for those franchises with deep pockets, less so for small-market teams.

Is the highest paid coach is the most successful coach?

Every contract is individual to the coach and the organization, so it is difficult to generalize. Stock options may be included, as could be performance bonuses. Not every franchise publishes financial details of the front office or coaching staff, so there are a few coaches out there who could fall anywhere along the pay spectrum. But the one thing that (we think that) we know is that the highest paid coach in the NFL is also the most successful coach in the NFL.

Bill Belichick is paid $20 million per year by the New England Patriots making him the highest-paid coach in the league, and rightfully with six Super Bowl rings and 23 years of tenure. He is also a three-time AP Coach of the Year and the all-time leader in playoff wins by a coach.

Top 10 highest-paid NFL coaches

1. Bill BelichickNew England Patriots$20 million
2. Sean PaytonDenver Broncos$18 million
3. Pete CarrollSeattle Seahawks$15 million
4. Sean McVayLos Angeles Rams$15 million
5. Mike TomlinPittsburgh Steelers$12.5 million
6. Andy ReidKansas City Chiefs$12 million
7. John HargbaughBaltimore Ravens$12 million
8. Kyle ShanahanSan Francisco 49ers$10 million
9. Josh McDanielsLas Vegas Raiders$10 million
10. Mike VrabelTennessee Titans$9.5 million

Who are the lowest paid NFL coaches?

Matt LaFleurGreen Bay Packers$5 million
Robert SalehNew York Jets$5 million
Zac TaylorCincinnati Bengals$4.5 million
Mike McCarthyDallas Cowboys$4 million
Kevin StefanskiCleveland Browns$3.5 million

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