News broke that the Carolina Panthers quietly signed head coach and reignin Non-Belichick Coach of the Year Award winner Ron Rivera to a contract extension valued at $6 million per season, making him one of the ten highest paid head coaches in the NFL.
Blockbuster coaching contracts seems to the theme this offseason, as Saints head coach Sean Payton signed a 5-year, $45 million contract in March, and as the Seahawks work towards a deal with head coach Pete Carroll, who will be a free agent at the end of this season. Carroll had signed a contract for 5-years, $35 million per season in 2010, so his reworked deal for 3-years signed in 2014 was projected to be for a higher sum.
But note that I say “projected” because we have no freaking idea what Pete Carroll makes.
The only details we know about the deal is that it made Carroll one of the three highest paid coaches in the NFL. That’s it. Payton was making roughly $8 million at the time and since Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL with the most roles, the expectation is that Belichick makes more.
And...that’s pretty much it. Everyone started to report that Carroll makes $8 million, just like Payton was at the time, because Payton was making $8 million per year and, by gum, Carroll was a top three guy so he must make $8 million, too.
Carroll could very well make $8 million per year, or even more, but it’s based entirely on speculation because the details have never formally been announced and no reporter has ever confirmed the contract. Someone suggested $8 million per year, some random Forbes contributor added that to their annual slideshow, and now it’s bible.
And that’s exactly how it is with Belichick.
Belichick has been under four contracts with the Patriots. He signed his initial 5-year deal back in 2000, but prior to the 2003 season he inked an undisclosed 2-year extension through 2006.
At some point in time Belichick signed a contract extension because he was certainly the coach for the start of the 2007 season, when the head coach signed another undisclosed extension after week 2.
Belichick signed another extension in September 2013 for an unknown amount of money and an unknown amount of time and we will probably never know the details.
"I don't talk about contracts, but I would say I like working here,” Belichick said back in 2007. “I like the organization- ownership, coaches, scouts, players, and the guys I work with. I appreciate the opportunity to work here and it's a good situation. I don't see that changing anytime soon."
That ESPN source is the closest we ever get to any details on Belichick’s contract.
“While Belichick's salary for 2007 had been reported to be in the $4.2 million range,” the article states, “it certainly is conceivable that he could have commanded anywhere between $6 million and $8 million annually with the extension."
And so we’ve decided, alongside Carroll’s salary details, to just make up a number and repeat it until it becomes fact.
Forbes used $5 million per year in their 2008 and 2009 editions. Belichick somehow jumped to $7.5 million in 2010, despite not having a contract negotiation, with Forbes citing the website coacheshotseat.com, an unsourced list of whoknowswhat.
In 2011, Forbes admitted they didn’t really know how much Belichick makes when they stated, Belichick earned “some $7.5 million a year, we estimate. The Patriots have never publicly confirmed Belichick’s contract details, but industry pundits have little doubt that the long-term extension he signed in 2007 is north of the roughly $7 million annually that Mike Holmgren was getting from the Seattle Seahawks.”
Forbes further reasons that Mike Shanahan and Pete Carroll signed contracts valued at $7 million per year in 2010 and that there’s no way that either coach would earn more than Belichick- so Belichick had to make more than them.
It’s funny that circular logic on Belichick’s contract signed in 2007 led Forbes to projecting a $7.5 million contract in 2014- the same $7.5 million that led pundits to believe Carroll was making $8 million a year with his contract extension.
But as the Panthers sign Ron Rivera to a nice extension, and the 49ers hand Chip Kelly $6 million per year, just keep in mind that these are actual reported figures.
No such information exists with Belichick. It’s all made up. Or if it’s not made up, no one has come forward to cite an actual source. It’s all regurgitated nothingness that has somehow become accepted knowledge.
We don't know if Belichick is making $7.5 million per year. He should be making far more, if that’s true. Just don’t expect Belichick to make a statement.