It's been all the buzz on the internets today, so I figured I'd throw it out there: yes, Maryland's assistants are criminally overpaid. Like, by an absurd amount.
All three major newspapers (Sun, Times, Post) received 8 of the 9 assistant coach contracts - Gary Crowton's, which is by far the largest, is conspicuously missing. But Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times was the first, so we'll send the link traffic his way, and make sure to page through @D1scourse for some more tidbits.
Read up on it all, but here are the highlights:
All the assistants have a three-year contract. That's pretty much unheard of, at least for Maryland: they used to run out on June 30th of every year, I guess with some sort of rollover clause if they weren't fired before that point. But all the contracts we know last a full three years, which means that if the administration wants to make a change, they have to pay another two years worth of salary to the fired coach.
That's just silly.
Todd Bradford is getting paid at a level as a great defensive coordinator. No, really. Guaranteed compensation: $357,440. That's more than Jeff Casteel, Pat Narduzzi, Nick Allioti, and Al Groh earned over the past year.
The real idiocy in this, besides the fact that Bradford isn't an elite DC? He wasn't hired to be a defensive coordinator. Remember that? He was hired to a linebackers coach, and almost certainly wasn't given this salary right away. (God, that'd be unthinkable.) He only got the DC gig after Maryland was turned down by Randy Shannon and perhaps Larry Johnson Sr., too. He was a last-ditch effort.
So ... tell me again, why did a stop-gap measure who was at least Plan C get a three-year deal worth elite ACC pay? I had always assumed that Bradford would be a one-year guy until they could get their preference in the next season, but obviously not. This makes it difficult to get rid of Bradford, or even demote him, and then make room for the big salary a guy like Shannon or Johnson would demand.
All told, Maryland's assistants are guaranteed to make at least $2.12mil for the next two years. That $2mil+, remember is guaranteed over the next two seasons, which means that if Maryland wanted to fire Randy Edsall right now, they'd be on the hook for $14mil instead of just $10mil.
And say he goes 2-10 again next year, or god forbid even worse. Then, instead of his buyout being only $8mil, it's upped to $10mil thanks to the assistant coaches' salaries. Absurd.
And that doesn't include the biggest contract of them all, Gary Crowton's. Though his base salary rests at "only" $375k, the Shreveport Times reported that his contract offer was at $500k a year. That's one of the biggest assistant coach contracts in the country, and also a giant rip-off.
We're stuck with him, folks.
Silver lining: Maryland's administration is willing to make a big financial commitment to football. I know it's easy to freak out over this sort of thing, but hey, look at the bright side: Maryland isn't afraid to spend big bucks on football. That's an absolute necessity if they're going to take the leap we all think they can.
Big gridiron success was never going to come without a commitment to football, both administrative and financial. And as poorly-executed as this commitment may be, it's still certainly a commitment. Kudos for that, I guess.
But I still blame Kevin Anderson and Randy Edsall for this, for different reasons. For Anderson: the contracts were either terribly negotiated or terribly thought-out. I'm fine with the money from his perspective, but the idea to give everyone a three-year deal is disastrously bad. These are things that cripple an already significantly handicapped athletic department.
And for Edsall: he's working with $2.75mil a year, guaranteed for three years, and this staff was the best he could do. That's a pretty damning portrayal of him in some way: the way his peers view him, his ability to evaluate, his people skills, something. It's not exactly SEC money, but it is pretty high up-there for an ACC school, and it's certainly better than what he ended up with.
And, in fact, let's go back to Anderson for a second. If an AD is throwing around stupid amounts of money, it's his responsibility to make sure his head coach is doing better than a guy who couldn't cut it in C-USA, a re-tread who got run out of his last job, a position coach who got fired by a primary conference rival, and quite possibly the worst special teams coach in the world. You see that going on, either make some changes or change your plan to throw around stupid money until you can spend it on coaches who deserve it.
I'm trying to be optimistic because it's clear that, unless Edsall gets hired at Jacksonville, he'll be here for another year. I actually started think he could be sort-of successful, mostly because he doesn't really do anything directly in a game (he's a "program CEO" type). But my offseason to-do list for him was focused significantly upon staff changes. And if that doesn't happen? We may need to get ready for a long winter.