Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson reportedly has massive asking price to become a head coach

According to a report on Thursday, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson wants a massive money demand if a team wants to hire him as their next head coach.

Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Guiding one of the best offenses in the NFL for a second straight year, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is set to be in demand for head coaching jobs again. That may give him some leverage to ask for a lot, and perhaps leverage teams against each other before he decides to make the jump to a head coaching job.

On Thursday, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reported Johnson is looking for a big pay day if he's going to become a head coach.

"I'm told personnel around the league are discussing their awareness that some Owners have been told #Lions OC Ben Johnson's asking price is at least or around $15M/year for a head coach job, per source." 

There's no reason to doubt Anderson's reporting, but that's quite a word salad to say something that could have been said more directly. "Personnel around the league are discussing their awareness......"Ben Johnson's asking price is at least or around $15M/year."

Coaching salaries are not made public like players' salaries are, but Pro Football Network has Bill Belichick as the highest-paid coach in the NFL ($20 million per year). Sean Payton ($18 million) and Pete Carroll ($15 million) come in second and third. So Johnson, based on the report, wants to tie Carroll as the third-highest paid head coach in the NFL.

Does Ben Johnson really want a huge contract to become a head coach?

Johnson did not take a head coaching interview with the Carolina Panthers a year ago in order to stay with the Lions. That was a good career decision in hindsight, and he also apparently got a nice raise to stay.

Still, there's big difference between being a well-compensated coordinator and even the lower end of head coaching salaries.

When these kind of reports come out, it's easy to think about potential agendas. Someone wants it out there that Johnson has a huge asking price to become a head coach.

-A team that wants him, and wants to price others out?
-An agent trying to advance the prospects of their client in the upcoming hiring cycle by practically eliminating Johnson for a lot of teams?
Those are a couple possibilities for who has an agenda here.

Johnson's agent, Richmond Flowers III, has refuted Anderson's report.

Flowers' reaction to Anderson's report is expected, and it's the only response he can have to it as Johnson's agent. It doesn't necessarily make the report untrue or incomplete, but it is one side of the story.

Related: . 5 head coaching jobs Ben Johnson could leave the Detroit Lions for after the season . 5 head coaching jobs Ben Johnson could leave the Detroit Lions for after the season. dark

Maybe Johnson just wants to stay in Detroit for at least one more year. It's important to be comfortable making the jump to a head coaching job, particularly as a first-timer, and maybe he's not there yet.

The report of Johnson having a $15 million per year asking price has to be viewed with some level of skeptical eye on its face though, and it has nothing to do with the reporter. Teams who are interested in Johnson will find out directly for themselves if its true, and maybe his list of interviews will be shaped by that discovery process.

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