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REPORT: Big Name Coaching Candidate Has Massive Demand For New Job

According to a report by Josina Anderson, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson will need a massive salary to be a head coach.
Ben Johnson

Every single year, disappointing teams part ways with their head coach in search of the next young offensive mastermind that can power their franchise to glory. While big names like Bill Belichick and Jim Harbaugh have proven track records of success, potential first-year coaches like Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and Washington Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy are likely to receive interest from a wide variety of teams. Being an NFL head coach is one of the most prestigious jobs in professional sports, as there are only 32 such openings in the entire league. Because of this, the right coach can earn a hefty salary, but one coaching candidate is reportedly asking for a major payday as a head coach.

According to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, Ben Johnson is asking for $15 million yearly to be a head coach. This is obviously a massive figure, even by NFL standards. Not every single NFL coach’s salary is available to the public, but for comparison, it’s widely believed that Bill Belichick makes $20 million per year as head coach and effective general manager for the Patriots. Belichick, of course, has been with New England for over 20 years and has helped win six Super Bowls with the organization. Even adjusting for inflation, there is no way Belichick earned anything close to that type of money when he first started.

REPORT: Ben Johnson Wants $15 Million Annual Salary As A Head Coach

Any time you see a report like this, you need to truly analyze what it says, rather than take it at face value. The wording of Anderson’s tweet suggests that the reporter heard this through a long and twisted grapevine. Somebody told the owners about Johnson’s requested salary. From there, the owners discussed an “awareness” of the salary with somebody else, who then talked to Anderson. Anyone who’s played the kindergarten game “telephone” knows that messages like this can become twisted as they get passed around, so this report should be taken with a grain of salt.

Chances are, the source of this leak is trying to leverage Johnson using the media. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that 7-10 head coaches will lose their jobs by the end of the season, and multiple teams will likely fight over Johnson’s services. If this report can scare away cheaper teams from going after the offensive coordinator, then it was a worthy leak.

Johnson probably isn’t expecting a $15 million annual salary, but we do know that he isn’t going to just jump on the first coaching opportunity he sees. If he were going to do that, he would already be with a different organization. The Lions just missed the playoffs last year as Jared Goff had his best statistical season since the 2018 campaign. Ben Johnson (rightly) deserved a lot of credit for Goff’s career resurrection, and he could have had just about any job he wanted. However, very early in the hiring process, Johnson informed teams that he’d return to the Lions for an additional season.

Potential Team Fits

For the sake of argument, we’re going to assume that Ben Johnson wants an above-average salary, but not $15 million per year. He’s probably the most in-demand candidate of the first-time head coaches, and these three teams should be interested in making him the next leader of their franchise.

Carolina Panthers

There are a lot of bad things to say about David Tepper’s tenure as owner of the Carolina Panthers, but you can’t call him cheap. This guy wants the Panthers to win, he just can’t get out of his own way. That being said, if he can learn to write a check and stay away, then Ben Johnson would be a perfect hire. Bryce Young desperately needs some help, as his rookie season has been nothing short of an untimely disaster. The Panthers mortgaged the future for Bryce Young, and Johnson has some experience with fixing a once-broken first-overall pick.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers are reportedly looking for a head coaching candidate with some experience, but if they opt to go with another first-timer, Ben Johnson is the man for the job. He has performed miracles with a good-but-not-great Jared Goff, so just imagine what he could do with a top-five talent in Justin Herbert. Even if Johnson will require a hefty salary, John Spanos said that there is no upper limit to what they might spend on a head coach. The rest of the roster might be in rough shape, but quarterback and head coach are easily the two most important parts of any rebuild, and the Chargers are all set there.

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are on a collision course with a top-two pick, which means they should be able to get one of Caleb Williams and Drake Maye. Both quarterbacks are incredibly gifted and possess the traits to be elite players in this league, and any head coach would love the opportunity to work with players of that caliber. Assuming Bill Belichick and the Patriots part ways, Ben Johnson is the ideal choice to fill those massive shoes. And while $15 million is a lot of money, it’s also less than the Patriots are currently paying for their head coach.

Main Photo: Junfu Han – USA Today Sports


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