It Pays To Call The Shots: The Salaries Of NFL Head Coaches
It’s not easy to make it to the top of the NFL coaching chain. Many of the best head coaches in the league start as interns or quality control coaches while spending years working way up the ladder. Others begin their coaching careers after retiring as players. And of course, there are the young geniuses like Sean McVay who show wisdom beyond their years and earn their highest honors in their early 30s. Whatever path a coach takes to become an NFL head coach, they are paid handsomely. Read on to find out just how much each NFL head coach makes!
Bill Belichick – $12 Million
The longest-tenured head coach in the NFL is unsurprisingly also the highest-paid. Hired by the franchise in 2000, Belichick helped construct the New England dynasty that was headed by Tom Brady under center and won six Super Bowls.
For his ability to consistently win, Belichick’s job as the Patriots’ head coach has rarely been in question. His yearly salary in New England is a reported $12 million, which is well earned after 21 seasons, nine Super Bowl appearances, and six Super Bowl wins.
Pete Carroll – $11 Million
Pete Carroll wasn’t an instant success when he was first hired by the Seattle Seahawks to take over the franchise in 2010. He went 7-9 in his first season, then 7-9 again in his second season. It was safe to say he was on the hot seat pretty quickly.
Then he drafted Russell Wilson and everything changed. Seattle hasn’t had a losing season with Wilson as their QB and has only missed the playoffs once. Carroll is the second-highest-paid coach in the league, pulling in $11 million a year.
Jon Gruden – $10 Million
The NFL world was left stunned in 2018 when the Oakland Raiders (now Las Vegas) brought Jon Gruden in for his second stint as the head coach. What was the cost? Ten years and $100 million. It was the richest head coaching contract ever given, but was it worth it?
In his first three years back in black and silver, Gruden won 19 games and lost 29. On paper, he should be on the hot seat. In reality, $10 million a year for the next seven years is too much for the Raiders to consider moving on from.
Sean Payton – $9.8 Million
Hired by the Saints in 2006, Sean Payton has been a fixture in New Orleans ever since. His first year was rough. After the city of New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Payton led the Saints to a 3-13 record.
Things quickly turned around for Payton and the city when they signed free-agent quarterback Drew Brees. A few years later, New Orleans would win the Super Bowl. Earning $9.8 million a season, it’s safe to assume Payton isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
John Harbaugh – $9 Million
John Harbaugh was a special teams coach before the Baltimore Ravens hired him to be the head coach in 2008. He was actually the team’s second choice behind Jason Garrett, but he quickly proved to be the right choice.
Harbaugh went 11-5 in his first season and has only had one losing season in over a decade as the team’s leader. In 2012, Harbaugh coached the Ravens to a Super Bowl championship, the second in franchise history.
Matt Rhule – $8.5 Million
After turning around two college football programs in Temple and Baylor, Matt Rhule was finally given his shot to be a head coach at the NFL level. The Carolina Panthers signed Rhule to a contract worth $8.5 million a year to work in his magic.
Rhule’s first year in Carolina was predictably rough. With the team in rebuild mode, he led them to a 5-11 record, setting his foundation for the future of the franchise while evaluating what talent he was given by the previous regime.
Sean McVay – $8.5 Million
The Los Angeles Rams hired Sean McVay to be their head coach in 2017. He was 30-years-old and became the youngest head coach ever hired in league history. The huge gamble by the Rams ended up with the highest reward.
In his first season in Los Angeles, the Rams went 11-5. In his second season, McVay led the team to a 13-3 record and an appearance in the Super Bowl. In his short time in Los Angeles, the young coach has proved to be wise beyond his years. In 2021, he led the team back to the promised land, this time beating the Bengals to win it all.
Mike Tomlin – $8 Million
One season after winning the Super Bowl in 2005, Bill Cowher retired as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. To replace him in 2007, the team hired Mike Tomlin, who was coming off a stint as the defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings.
Armed with Ben Roethlisberger as his quarterback, Tomlin went 10-6 in his first season. In his second season, he won the Super Bowl. In over a decade as Pittsburgh’s head coach, the man worth $8 million a year has never posted a losing record.
Andy Reid – $8 Million
The Kansas City Chiefs went all-in on Andy Reid in 2013 when the Philadelphia Eagles declined to renew his contract. The team gave Reid a five-year deal with final say on roster decisions.
One of Reid’s first moves was to trade for quarterback Alex Smith. The move made the Chiefs a perennial playoff contender. In 2017, Reid drafted Patrick Mahomes. Three years later, the Chiefs won the Super Bowl. Reid has never had a losing record as the head coach of Kansas City.
Bruce Arians – $8 Million
It took Bruce Arians a long time to earn the respect he deserved in the NFL and win a head coaching job. The Arizona Cardinals gave him his first shot in 2013 and he nearly led them to the Super Bowl.
In 2017, Arians retired, but couldn’t stay that way. By 2019 he was back in the NFL as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his second year in Tampa, he worked with Tom Brady under center to lead the franchise to its first Super Bowl appearance in early 20 years!
Ron Rivera – $7 Million
With one Super Bowl appearance under his belt as the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, hiring Ron Rivera was a no-brainer for the Washington Football Team in 2020. Rivera made an instant impact, taking a team deficient in talent and leading them to a 7-9 record.
That record was good enough to win the NFC East, meaning Rivera made the playoffs in his first season with WFT. Even more remarkably, he spent the season undergoing treatments for cancer, which he was declared free of in early 2021.
Kliff Kingsbury – $5.5 Million
Although his career as a college head coach was underwhelming, the style of offense Kliff Kingsbury ran at Texas Tech was too exciting for the Arizona Cardinals to not take a chance on him.
In his first offseason, Kingsbury shipped former number one overall draft pick Josh Rosen to Miami and drafted Kyler Murray to be his franchise quarterback. In his second season, the Cardinals started hot at 5-2 before cooling off and missing the playoffs. Heading into his third year, the well-paid coach will surely be on the hot season in a must-win season.
Joe Judge – $5 Million
Joe Judge did not have an easy start to his NFL head coaching career. His first season as the head man for the New York Giants started with five straight losses. The team looked lost and ill-prepared for the remaining 11 games on the schedule.
That was far from true, though, as the Giants rallied behind the coach to go 6-5 down the stretch, finishing the season with a 6-10 record. The end run should be enough to get Giants fans excited for the seasons ahead with Judge.
Matt LaFleur – $5 Million
It’s hard to argue with the early return on investment for young Packers’ head coach Matt LaFleur. The complete opposite of previous head coach Mike McCarthy, LaFleur is anything but conservative, and after one season of adjusting his game to Aaron Rodgers, he showed why Green Bay hired him in 2020.
Aaron Rodgers tossed 48 touchdown passes in 2020 against only five interceptions. Reaching the NFC Championship Game for the second straight season, the Packers fell heartbreakingly short of the Super Bowl. Maybe year three will prove to be the charm.
Vic Fangio – $5 Million
Long time looked-over defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was finally given a chance to be a head coach in his mid-50s by the Denver Broncos. Making a reported $5 million a year, Fangio dove into a multi-year rebuild that started with drafting QB Drew Lock.
Fangio went 7-9 in 2019 with the Broncos before the team regressed in his second season with a 5-11 record. The biggest problem with the Broncos has been the offense, something the former defensive coordinator doesn’t specialize in and will rely on his assistant coaches to help figure out moving forward.
Frank Reich – $4.5 Million
Frank Reich first became a coach with the Indianapolis Colts in 2008 as an offensive assistant. It was only fitting a decade later that he would be hired as the head coach of the team that jump-started his coaching career.
Reich’s three-year tenure with the Colts has proven to be worth the $4.5 million a year the team is paying him. He has made the playoffs twice without finding a real franchise quarterback under center – not an easy thing to accomplish.
Mike McDaniel: $5 million
Mike McDaniel attended Yale, where he wound up playing football on top of graduating with a degree in history. From there, he began his career in the NFL, beginning as a coaching intern under Mike Shanahan of the Denver Broncos. This was in 2005.
It took until 2022 for McDaniel to obtain a head coaching position. But when the Miami Dolphins snagged him, McDaniel proved he was head coaching material, becoming the second coach in the franchise’s history to win their first game as the head coach.
Mike McCarthy – $4 Million
Mike McCarthy spent 13 seasons as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, even winning one Super Bowl before he was sent packing after the 2018 season. The weathered coach took a year away from the game before returning in 2020 as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas is paying McCarthy $4 million a season, and only time will tell who got the better side of the deal. McCarthy’s first year was sidetracked by the season-ending injury to franchise quarterback Dak Prescott.
Zac Taylor – $4.5 Million
The Cincinnati Bengals were hoping they found the next Sean McVay when they hired Zac Taylor as their head coach in 2019. The young rising coaching star was on McVay’s staff in Los Angeles, and Bengals’ higher-ups were trying to connect the dots.
Taylor’s first season in Cincinnati was a disaster. The team went 2-14 after starting the season 0-11. With the first pick in the draft, the Bengals selected Joe Burrow to be the franchise savior. The draft pick also served to buy Taylor more time as he figures out all the facets of head coaching.
Mike Zimmer – $4 Million
Mike Zimmer was given his first coaching job in 1979, by Missouri as a defensive assistant. In 1994, he was hired by the Cowboys in the same position. After serving as a defensive assistant for over 30 years, the Minnesota Vikings offered Zimmer the head coaching job in 2014.
Zimmer’s tenure in Minnesota has been filled will ups and downs. His team has made the playoffs three times, losing the NFC Championship Game to the Super Bowl champion Eagles in 2017.
Mike Vrabel – $3 Million
Mike Vrabel had a quick rise from assistant coach to head coach. The Houston Texans hired him in 2014 as the team’s linebackers coach. While there, he coached up heavy hitters including JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.
In 2018, the Tennessee Titans hitched their wagon to Vrabel, naming him the team’s head coach. In three years, Vrabel has never missed the playoffs, and even reached the AFC Championship Game in 2019, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Urban Meyer – $12 Million
Although his official salary as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars has not been revealed, it is believed that Urban Meyer is making at least $12 million a year. One of the greatest college head coaches of all-time, Meyer felt like his coaching career was over, so it was always going to take a hefty sum to lure him back.
Of course, Meyer didn’t initially retire because he felt like he had nothing left to give. His health was suffering and he wasn’t able to focus on it while at Ohio State. A few years removed and he’s healthy enough to give it another go!
Kevin Stafenaski – $3.5 Million
Brought in to help resuscitate the flailing Cleveland Browns franchise after Freddie Kitchens embarrassed fans, Kevin Stefanski made $3.5 million in his first season, which turned out to be quite the bargain as he was an instant success!
With the same talent on the roster as Kitchens had, Stefanski turned the lowly Browns into one of the best teams in the NFL. Under his guidance, they even won their first playoff game in over 25 years!
Brian Flores – $3 Million
Brian Flores has led a quick turnaround in Miami and the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. His first season with the team wasn’t good, but it was clear from how the players responded to him, even during a losing season, that he was creating something special.
All of Flores’ hard work paid off in 2020 as he led the Dolphins to a winning record and nearly made the playoffs. With him in charge, Miami is set up for sustained success for the first time since the Dan Marino era.
Kyle Shanahan – $3.5 Million
One of the biggest bargains in the NFL, Kyle Shanahan’s salary won’t stay at $3.5 million for very long. In his third season in San Francisco, he led the team to a 13-3 record and an appearance in the Super Bowl.
After the big game, owner Jed York rewarded Shanahan with a six-year contract extension. The new deal will reportedly pay Shanahan upwards of $9 million a year, although specifics of the contract have not been revealed yet.
Robert Saleh – $5 Million
The New York Jets spared no expense when it came to getting top head coaching candidate Robert Saleh to sign with them. The architect of San Francisco’s Super Bowl defense, Saleh was seen as a head coach in waiting.
After signing a five-year contract worth $5 million a season with Gang Green, Saleh is no longer waiting. Loaded with talent, it now rests on Saleh’s shoulders to lead the team to a turn around similar to what Kevin Stefanski was able to pull off in Cleveland.
David Culley – ?
While monetary terms for David Culley’s contract with the Houston Texans have not yet been revealed, one thing is for certain – he has a lot of work to do. Culley enters into the locker room with a team in turmoil and a QB who is refusing to play.
For that reason, it makes sense why Houston handed the 65-year-old former special teams coach a five year deal. He has a lot of work to do, and he’s being given plenty of time to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
Nick Sirianni – ?
Very little is known about the contract the Philadelphia Eagles gave Nick Sirianni to be their head coach after the team parted ways with Doug Pederson. Sirianni was a surprise hire by the team, who are looking to revive the career of quarterback Carson Wentz.
Rumor has it that Wentz and Pederson began to clash during the 2020 season, which wasn’t helped by the QBs benching. When the season wrapped, the team chose its QB over its head coach.
Brandon Staley – ?
The new head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers will have high expectations heading into his first head coaching gig. A young rising star, in his first season as the defensive coordinator for the Rams, Staley led the number one defense in the NFL.
The masterful work he did got the attention of the Chargers after the team fired Anthony Lynn. Currently, Staley’s salary is unknown, but we would imagine it is somewhere in the $5 million a year range.
Dan Campbell – ?
In early 2021, Saints TE coach Dan Campbell agreed to a six-year contract to become the head coach of the Detroit Lions. The intense presence had a huge rebuild in front of him as the team recently traded away disgruntled QB Matthew Stafford.
With six-years to build the team in his image, Campbell hopes to finally bring success to one of the NFL’s most storied, and most beleaguered franchises of all-time.
Arthur Smith – ?
After reviving the career of QB Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee, Arthur Smith has now been tasked with reviving the Falcons in Atlanta. The good news – Atlanta is loaded with talent including franchise QB Matt Ryan.
The bad news – despite all the talent, the players essentially gave up on previous head coach Dan Quinn. Will new blood help excite the players on the team? Quinn once led the Falcons to the Super Bowl, so it won’t be easy.
Roger Staubach – $600 Million
Financially, Roger Staubach has had more success off the NFL field than on it. A Hall of Famer and Dallas Cowboys legend, Staubach played in Dallas from 1969 until 1979, an era when salaries weren’t as exaggerated as they are today.
A savvy businessman, Staubach grew a real estate empire that has earned him his epic net worth. As he once explained, “I couldn’t have retired at my age and just played golf. First of all, they didn’t pay quarterbacks what they do today. And I was 37 with three kids. I kept thinking about [what would happen] if some linebacker takes off my head and I can’t play anymore.”
Peyton Manning – $250 Million
During his career with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, Peyton Manning started four Super Bowls, winning two. In one season he threw 55 touchdowns passes, a single-season NFL record.
Thanks to his accomplishments on the field, the era he played during, and his glut of endorsement deals off the field, Manning is worth a reported $250 million. And while pressure mounts on him to join a broadcasting crew in the booth, the QB seems content to take things easy in retirement.
Tom Brady – $200 Million
Arguably the greatest QB to ever play in the NFL, Tom Brady continues to make waves on the field well into his 40s. Amazingly, if Brady had been a little more selfish during his time in New England, his net worth might be more than $200 million.
Brady famously signed contracts as a Patriot that undervalued him so the team could keep certain other skill players around. The strategy netted Brady six Super Bowl championships and multiple lucrative endorsement deals.
Steve Young – $200 Million
When Steve Young succeeded Joe Montana in San Francisco, few could have predicted he would throw a record six touchdowns in one Super Bowl. Young’s NFL career was short-lived, though, as he was forced to retire in 1999 after several concussions.
Off the field, Young has not only became a vital on-air personality for ESPN, he has also been a highly successful businessman. In 2007, he co-founded Huntsman Gay Global Capital, a venture that has helped skyrocket his net worth to $200 million.
Drew Brees – $160 Million
Like Tom Brady, Drew Brees has played in the NFL at an elite level well into his 40s. A legend as a Saint, Brees has been in the Big Easy for so long it’s easy to forget he was originally drafted by the Chargers.
Brees, who is worth a reported $160 million and been invaluable in New Orleans. He even brought the city together after Hurricane Katrina by winning the team’s first Super Bowl.
Eli Manning – $150 Million
Eli Manning has one of the more complicated legacies of the players you will find on this list. The franchise QB for the New York Giants, Manning beat Tom Brady twice in Super Bowls and earned millions during his career.
Despite his accomplishments, there are still questions about how good of a QB Manning really was. Love him or hate him, his success in the Super Bowl, and a few pricey endorsement deals, secured his estimated $150 million net worth.
John Elway – $145 Million
John Elway spent his entire 16-year career with the Denver Broncos. During his run as the team’s starting QB, he started five Super Bowls, winning back-to-back championships before retiring. Since then, his net worth has ballooned to $145 million.
Try as he might, Elway couldn’t stay away from the game, and after several successful ventures were in the books, he joined the Broncos’ front off as team president, a position he has used to win a third Super Bowl championship.
Russell Wilson – $135 Million
Russell Wilson is one of the NFL’s highest-paid QBs, earning roughly $35 million a season to play for the Seattle Seahawks. Worth every penny, Wilson rarely misses the playoffs and has won the Super Bowl once.
Off the field, Wilson has become his own brand. Add that revenue in with his mega endorsement deals with major food and clothing companies and it’s not hard to see how this superstar has a super large net worth!
Aaron Rodgers – $120 Million
The face of the Green Bay Packers for over a decade, Aaron Rodgers is worth a reported $120 million. With one Super Bowl championship and two NFL MVP awards to his name, Rodgers earns every penny of his lofty salary.
Helping boost his net worth off the field is his sponsorship with State Farm Insurance. How many times a day do you see him during a commercial break interacting with Jake?
Brett Favre – $100 Million
Now that we’ve talked about his successor, let’s break down Brett Favre’s net worth. Considered one of the greatest QBs of all-time, Favre played in the NFL for 20 years for the Falcons, Packers, Jets, and Vikings.
When he retired, Favre was the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns. His long career, and endorsement deals with Wrangler Jeans and Copper Fit, have helped the Hall of Famer earn an estimated net worth of $100 million.
Joe Montana – $100 Million
The winner of four Super Bowls during his legendary tenure with the San Francisco 49ers, Joe Montana is worth a reported $100 million. Like Staubach, much of Montana’s wealth came after he retired.
Montana has his own successful wine label and listed his massive estate in 2009 for $49 million, a fitting number all things considered. Montana, unlike Steve Young, has mostly stayed out of the public eye since leaving the world of professional sports behind.
Ben Roethlisberger – $100 Million
Over the last two decades, Ben Roethlisberger has been nothing short of sensational for the Pittsburgh Steelers. When he’s been healthy, the team has been a perennial Super Bowl contender. And when he’s been hurt, it’s been the opposite story.
His long career has led to a healthy bank account, along with a bloated net worth of $100 million. With a few years left in his tank, we expect that lofty number to keep growing, too.
Fran Tarkenton – $100 Million
Fran Tarkenton built his $100 million net worth on a media career and business acumen that served him well after his 18 year NFL career. For a brief period, Tarkenton worked as a color analyst for Monday Night Football.
He also was the founder of Tarkenton Software, a company specializing in generating computer programs. Not one to settle for one business, the Minnesota legend also owns $40 million worth of stocks in Apple Computers.
Joe Flacco – $75 Million
You might be surprised to see Joe Flacco on this list, but he’s earned his place. After winning the Super Bowl in 2013 and going on a historic postseason run, Baltimore rewarded him with the richest contract in NFL history.
Flacco didn’t exactly live up to the contract, but that didn’t stop his net worth from climbing. After burning through his goodwill in Baltimore, Flacco became a Bronco. In 2020, he signed a deal to play for the New York Jets.
Cam Newton – $75 Million
Cam Newton became a superstar with the Carolina Panthers, winning one NFL MVP and appearing in the Super Bowl once. If it wasn’t for a shoulder injury, the uber-talented Newton may have been high on this list.
Still one of the most exciting players in the league, Newton isn’t as explosive as he used to be, but he’s proven to be a valuable player for the New England Patriots. With his salary and endorsements added together, Newton is worth an estimated $75 million.
Tony Romo – $70 Million
Tony Romo had a successful, if injury-plagued, career in the NFL as the starting QB for the Dallas Cowboys. Immediately after retiring, Romo was hired by CBS to be the network’s top NFL analyst.
Romo is now known as one of the best analysts in the industry and has used his media career to gain multi-million dollar endorsement deals. Today, it’s estimated that he is worth about $70 million.
Matt Ryan – $70 MIllion
Taken by the Atlanta Falcons with the 3rd overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Matt Ryan has been the team’s franchise QB ever since. He has reached one Super Bowl and been named the NFL MVP once.
For all his accomplishments, Ryan has been well-paid by the Falcons. In 2018, he became the first player in NFL history to have a $30 million a year salary after signing a massive extension.
Kirk Cousins – $70 Million
Kirk Cousins was the first player in NFL history to sign a fully guaranteed contract when he left the Washington Football Team for the Minnesota Vikings. A few years into his deal, the Vikings extended his contract, showing their commitment to Cousins as their franchise player.
With a reported net worth of $70 million, Cousins is one of the wealthiest players in the NFL. Still young, we expect his worth to rise as long as he continues to play at a near-elite level.
Patrick Mahomes – $30 Million
After signing a mind-boggling 10-year contract extension worth more than $400 million with the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes’ $30 million net worth is going to blow up. The young star already has won a Super Bowl and league MVP.
An endorsement deal with State Farm has helped increase Mahomes’ net worth, as well another high profile investment. Shortly after signing his massive extension, the QB bought an ownership piece of the Kansas City Royals.
Terry Bradshaw- $25 Million
Terry Bradshaw won four Super Bowls during his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Matching Joe Montana with big game wins hasn’t meant the same for his net worth, though. A stable career on television as a Fox analyst has helped Bradshaw’s net worth rise to $25 million.
Just being an analyst isn’t enough for Bradshaw, who also has a reality show following his life with his daughters, which airs on E!