Bill Belichick remains unpredictable, heading into his 22nd season as head coach of the New England Patriots.
Belichick confirmed last week that he wouldn’t name a successor to former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Instead, he is all but doing away with the coordinator title in favor of an all-hands-on-deck effort from his coaching staff.
While there are countless theories as to what inspired this decision, it’s actually not that out of character for the eight-time Super Bowl champion. He’s been without an offensive or defensive coordinator for nine of those 22 seasons, including a 2010 season without a coordinator on either side of the ball.
But Belichick is no stranger to life as a member of the supporting staff. He spent two decades under various head coaches, winning two of his eight Super Bowl rings along the way, before taking over the Patriots in 2000.
Only time will tell if this announcement ripples throughout the league, but the opportunities and earnings of coordinators and assistants continue to change. Unlike the players, coaches’ salaries are notoriously private and much of the information is speculation based on previous contracts.
Here’s a look at the earnings of NFL coordinators.
How much do NFL coordinators make?
New England Patriots
The average salary for an NFL coordinator is around $1 million. Obviously, there’s a lot of variation depending on the experiences of a coordinator, success of a team and overall value and resources of a franchise.
The first coordinator to clear over $1 million annually was Marvin Lewis in 2002.
Who is the highest paid NFL coordinator?
Until six months ago, the title for highest-paid coordinator belonged to Josh McDaniels with the New England Patriots. McDaniels signed a five-year deal back in 2018 with an annual salary that reportedly worked up to $4 million, putting him on par with some head coaches.
McDaniels eventually got the title to back up the paycheck when he was hired as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders back in January. While the details of McDaniels contract are undisclosed, it’s fair to assume he’s well compensated.
It’s a similar story on the other side of the ball.
Back in 2021, Todd Bowles signed a three-year extension as defensive coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rumored to be worth $3 million a year. Less than eight months later, Bowles was inking a new five-year contract to take over as head coach of the Bucs.
Who is the lowest paid NFL coordinator?
There is no consensus on the lowest paid NFL coordinators, but the best guess is to look at market size and franchise history.
Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans will likely have less cash to spend.
However, that isn’t always the case.
Take a team like the Dallas Cowboys, the most valuable sports team in the world. The Cowboys boast a storied past, large metropolitan economy and glistening facilities. Longtime owner Jerry Jones certainly has the flexibility to spend more lavishly throughout the locker room, but head coach Mike McCarthy isn’t even in the top-10 of earners leading an NFL sideline.
How much more do NFL assistants make than college assistants?
It might surprise you to learn that the wage gap between college and professional coaches is pretty marginal, even nonexistent in some cases.
The top-two earners among assistant coaches and coordinators this past season hailed from Clemson. Brent Venables made $2.5 million as offensive coordinator, while Tony Elliot made $2.13 million. Mike Elko, then-defensive coordinator for Texas A&M, was the only other coach to make over $2 million this past year.
Much like the NFL, these positions are as much about the opportunities as they are about the money. All three of these coaches have since left their post to take over as head coaches at Oklahoma, Virginia and Duke, respectively.