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Packers' Mike McCarthy in rare financial air

On Friday, we wondered whether Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy's new contract extension had made him the highest-paid coach in the NFC North. After all, it had been only a week since Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith had signed a new deal that presumably included a raise from his previous $5 million annual salary.

On second thought, however, maybe we should have been asking whether McCarthy is now the highest-paid coach in the game.

Longtime NFL columnist Dan Pompei, writing for the National Football Post, is reporting that McCarthy's deal will pay him $32.25 million over the next five years. That averages out to $6.45 million per season, significantly higher than original $5 million estimates.

As we noted last week, pinpointing coaching salaries is difficult because few people are privy to this type of first-hand information. But I can tell you a few things here. First, Pompei is a cautious and first-rate reporter. Second, based on other reliable media reports, McCarthy's average salary likely would rank as the fourth-highest among NFL coaches.

Based on this story from Forbes magazine, the only coaches earning more are Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (more than $7 million annually), Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins ($7 million) and Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks ($6.6 million).

Exact numbers on Smith's contract haven't been reported, but we're assuming his salary is below $6.45 million for the purposes of this ranking.