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College coaching pay sends “shock waves” through the NFL

Kliff Kingsbury has been linked to Oklahoma even though it's "not a topic I want to touch right now." Mike Florio and Charean Williams discuss what it would take for an NFL coach to want to leave and return to college.

The proliferation of eight-figure college coaches will definitely have an impact on the NFL.

Via Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, recent contracts given out by schools like Michigan State, USC, and LSU sent shock waves through the NCAA -- and “bigger shock waves” in the NFL.

Glazer predicts that NFL coaching salaries could double or triple in the next year or two. We recently reported that the top of the NFL market is expected to get to $25 million per year, soon.

Glazer also said that only a handful of NFL coaches are currently making more than $10 million per year.

It could be a handful with a few extra fingers. By our count, at least eight coaches currently are north of $10 million per year in total compensation, including the money they officially get and the extra cash that comes their way in orer to not blow the curve: Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Chiefs coach Andy Reid, Saints coach Sean Payton, Rams coach Sean McVay, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. Of those, Belichick, Payton, and Carroll are believed to be north of $15 million annually. Belichick is believed to make the most, at more than $20 million.

Jaguars coach Urban Meyer possibly is at $10 million or more; however, the fact that no reports ever have surfaced regarding his compensation suggest that it’s nothing for Meyer or his agent to brag about. (Indeed, we reported before he took the job that he was looking for $12 million per year, which led to a clumsy effort to refute that.)

Other coaches could be entering the eight-figure club soon. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, Packers coach Matt LaFleur, Washington coach Ron Rivera, Bills coach Sean McDermott, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski, Titans coach Mike Vrabel, Dolphins coach Brian Flores, Colts coach Frank Reich, and even Bengals coach Zac Taylor seem to be potential candidates. (Taylor may have to go to a different team to get that much money, however.)

Regardless, the tide is rising for everyone. Even though the NFL possibly has tried to hold down the money that gets paid to most coaches, those days are likely coming to an end, thanks to the growth in coaching pay at the college level.

The fact that the TV money keeps skyrocketing and the gambling money keeps flowing makes it even more likely that the CEO of an NFL franchise will soon be making much more than ever before. Combined with the absence of a salary cap, a third of all coaches could be north of $25 million per year by the end of the decade.