O'Brien's reduced buyout widens NFL door

Sunday is all about the NFL, and the last two Sundays have brought news that Penn State coach Bill O'Brien could be headed back to pro football.

A week after CBSsports.com reported that NFL teams already are reaching out to O'Brien -- and that he's ready for an NFL return -- ESPN's Adam Schefter reports on Sunday that O'Brien's amended contract at Penn State includes a substantially lower buyout for NFL teams trying to pry him away from the school. Here's a look at O'Brien's revised contract, which was issued in June.

From the story:

The restated contract shows O'Brien changed the formula for his buyout and reduced the price of an NFL buyout from $19.33 million last year to $6.48 million for this year, per the contract, whereas the buyout another school would have to pay Penn State for O'Brien is $11.08 million.

So it would be a lot easier for the Houston Texans or any other NFL team with a vacancy to land O'Brien than say, Texas, although money is almost never an obstacle for the school in Austin.

Schefter also reports that O'Brien's camp wants Penn State to reduce the NFL buyout even more, which would just be silly on Penn State's part unless it wants to reward O'Brien by making it easier for him to leave.

O'Brien has done an excellent job stabilizing Penn State's program following the unprecedented NCAA sanctions imposed in July 2012. He has modernized the Lions offense and has a promising young quarterback in Christian Hackenberg for at least two more years.

But it looks more and more like Penn State will need some strong defense to keep O'Brien from going two-and-out in Happy Valley.