To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Lions reportedly have given Ben Johnson a new contract and a healthy raise to stay on as their offensive coordinator.
With the last of three scheduled interviews coming with the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported on Tuesday night that Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson told teams interested in him for head coaching jobs he is staying in Detroit.
Johnson reportedly had the lead for the Panthers job, and there’s a chance owner David Tepper would have made him an offer he couldn’t refuse during that interview. But that chance never came.
As he interviewed for jobs, the sentiment from a segment of Lions fans was “they should give him (Johnson) a big raise to stay”. Still, any head coaching job would pay him more than even a bump in pay to remain Lions’ offensive coordinator would.
The Lions, via team site senior writer Tim Twentyman, announced Johnson is returning as offensive coordinator on Thursday morning.
Ben Johnson got a nice raise to stay on as Lions offensive coordinator
But there is an added, unsurprising, layer to add.
Via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
If you were getting an “enhanced contract” featuring (obviously) a “large raise”, you’d be excited too.
Kyle Meinke of MLive reminded us of the general pay scales for head coaches and coordinators, though keep in mind head coaches get multi-year contracts and coordinators don’t always.
"Head-coaching jobs are simply too rare and lucrative, now that most hires earn at least $30 million guaranteed. Terms for such deals are rarely disclosed, although the average NFL coordinator is believed to make around $1.5 million annually, while top guys are believed to be paid around $3-4 million."
So Johnson may have traded $20-$30 million in guaranteed money over say a four or five-year deal, accounting for being a first-time head coach to possibly drop below $30 million, for a bump to $3-$4 million in his second year as a coordinator. It’s also fair to suggest he may not have seen the head coaching openings in this hiring cycle (Texans, Colts, Panthers, Broncos, Cardinals) as good fits, for any number of understandable reasons.
But make no mistake. Johnson needed a reason beyond culture, and wanting to keep building something in Detroit, to remove himself from head coaching consideration this year before his last scheduled interview even took place.
Let’s just say the (mostly) quiet part out loud. Money talked here, it’s really that simple and there’s nothing wrong with that.