Coaching in the National Football League is a career path that is not for the faint of heart. On top of the fact that it is nearly impossible to break into the business, NFL coaches also have to find a way to cope with working 20-plus hour workdays, and they have to be comfortable with the notion that one bad season or one off the field mishap can result in them either landing on the dreaded coaching hot seat or losing their job altogether. With that being said, becoming a head coach in the NFL does come with a few perks.
On top of the overwhelming sense of professional accomplishment that comes with reaching the pinnacle of the industry, NFL head coaches also often make enough money to set themselves and their families up for generations to come. With that being the case, here is a look at the six highest-paid coaches in the NFL for the 2016 season.
5. (tie) John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens – $7 million
The Ravens took a major chance on Harbaugh when they hired him to replace Brian Billick as their head coach back in 2008. The 53-year-old coach was coming off of a 10-year stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he spent his first nine seasons as the team’s special teams coordinator and his final season as their defensive backs coach. While his resume was impressive, he had zero previous head coaching experience and the next logical step in his career progression appeared to be moving into a role as an offensive or defensive coordinator or taking a head-coaching job at the college level. And after eight seasons as the head coach in Baltimore, it’s safe to say that Harbaugh was well worth the risk for Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome.
He has compiled a 77-51 overall record, won two division titles, and won Super Bowl XLVII in 2012. And as a result, it should come as no surprise that the contract extension he signed in 2013 made Harbaugh one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL.
5. (tie) Jeff Fisher, Los Angeles Rams – $7 million
To be blunt, we are shocked that Fisher still has a job with the Rams. For as stunned as we are that he is still employed, we are even more flabbergasted that he is one of the highest-paid coaches in the National Football League. He has a career overall record of 169-156-1, and a 27-36-1 record as the head coach of the Rams. In 21 seasons as an NFL head coach, Fisher has led his teams to six postseason appearances and one conference championship, and six division titles — all of which came with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans. When it comes to his time with the Rams, we are convinced that the only reason Fisher still has a job is the franchise’s unwillingness to pay him the multi-million dollar buyout that would come with him getting fired.
3. (tie) Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs – $7.5 million
Over the course of his 17 seasons as an NFL head coach, Reid has proven to be an excellent motivator, a great personnel evaluator, and one of the best offensive minds in the game. He was fired by the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2012 season, but in Reid’s defense, his dismissal from Philadelphia was more of a mutual agreement to part ways. He was quickly scooped up by the Chiefs, who signed him to a five-year, $37.5 million deal during the 2013 offseason.
3. (tie) Bill Belichick, New England Patriots – $7.5 million
Simply put, no price tag would be too high for Belichick’s services. He has built the Patriots into one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history, and undoubtedly has a place waiting for him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. What’s even more amazing about Belichick’s body of work in New England is that on top of being an exceptional coach, he has also been arguably the best General Manager in the league for most of the last decade.
2. Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks – $8 million
Needless to say, Carroll’s second stint as an NFL head coach has been vastly better than his first. Since taking the job in Seattle in 2010, Carroll has led the Seahawks to a 60-36 regular season record, an 8-4 postseason record, three division titles, two NFC titles, and the Super Bowl XLVIII title in 2013. With a resume like that, it’s no wonder he just landed a contract extension that made him the second-highest paid coach in the league.
1. Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints – $8 million
Considering the job that he has done in New Orleans, we weren’t the least bit surprised to find that Payton signed a contract extension that currently makes him the highest-paid coach in the NFL. Since taking over as the head coach of the Saints in 2006, all Payton has done is turn a franchise that had been one of the biggest laughing stocks in NFL history, into a Super Bowl champion (they defeated the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV in 2009), a nearly unstoppable offensive juggernaut, and a perennial contender in the NFC. If the Saints were to ever part ways with Payton, there is no doubting that he will have no trouble finding another job.