New York Giants owner John Mara was talking again Wednesday night about the looming contract extension for Giants coach Tom Coughlin, saying it would be done sooner rather than later. And there's no reason to doubt Mara. Coughlin's contract has never been a problem before, and as he's coming off his second Super Bowl title in five years, there's no dispute over whether he deserves a new one. My guess all along has been that it'll be a three-year deal, and as for salary, I think this Forbes list of the highest-paid coaches in sports offers some clues.
You see the Washington Redskins' Mike Shanahan tied for second on that list at $7 million per year. Shanahan also has two Super Bowl titles, though the most recent one came 13 years ago. The Philadelphia Eagles' Andy Reid ranks 10th on this list at $5.5 million per year, and as you may have learned by reading some of the comments on this blog, Reid has yet to win a Super Bowl. The Patriots' Bill Belichick ranks first at $7.5 million, though Forbes admits that's a pure guess and no one knows what Belichick, who's won three Super Bowls, actually makes.
Anyway, on Coughlin: Yeah, I think he should get something between Reid and Shanahan -- say, in the $6 million-$6.5 million per year range. You could make the argument, given the market in which he coaches and the relative proximity in time of the titles he's won, that he should get more than Shanahan gets, but Shanahan (as well as Belichick in New England and Reid in Philly) has control over his team's personnel decisions and likely gets paid in accordance with that additional responsibility. Coughlin does not have final say on personnel in New York, because GM Jerry Reese does, and the Giants are not inclined to change that organizational structure. I doubt Coughlin would really even want them to. He likes the way it works in New York, and everyone seems satisfied with their roles. But if you look at Mike Tomlin of the Steelers there at $5.8 million a year, you can make the case for Coughlin ahead of him.
It may be difficult for some who have perceived Coughlin as perpetually on the "hot seat" during his time in New York to imagine him among the highest-paid coaches in sports. But the numbers and the titles and the circumstances say he's earned it. And when the announcement does come, I believe it'll come with an eye-popping number attached to it.