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Top NFL coaches are moving toward $25 million

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.

Would you rather pay Jared Goff $33.5 million per year, or would you rather pay the best coach in the NFL $25 million per year?

Even though it’s believed no coach currently makes $25 million annually in the NFL, the market is expected to arrive at that threshold soon.

Per a source with direct knowledge of the dynamics of the compensation paid to NFL coaches, within the next two years the top NFL coaches will indeed be making $25 million per year.

Currently, at least three coaches are making more than $15 million per year, with Patriots coach Bill Belichick believed to be leading the way. He’s already believed to be north of $20 million.

The full extent of coaching pay isn’t widely known, because plenty of teams used related businesses to funnel extra cash to top coaches. Since there’s no salary cap, no internal rules are being broken. The practice would become relevant only if, for example, entry-level coaches ever tried to claim in court that the 32 separate businesses that make up the NFL are colluding to hold down the wages paid to head coaches.

Which they quite possibly have been doing. Although it would be virtually impossible to create an accurate assessment of the growth in coaching pay over the last 50 years and the increases in player salary, it’s entirely possible if not highly likely that player pay has mushroomed at a much higher rate, even with a salary cap. For players, the salary floor has become the rising tide that has lifted all boats. For coaches, the absence of a maximum has arguably done more harm than the absence of a maximum has done good.

It will be very good for the best NFL coaches to get $25 million per year. A great coach means a lot more to an NFL franchise than a good player, and plenty of good players have been making much better money than great coaches.

Thus, as the pay for the best college coaches publicly skyrockets, the pay for the best NFL coaches will continue to quietly climb -- even if it’s still not climbing the way it should.