ESPN might not be the first stop for sports highlights, but it’s apparently the place to poach vintage coaching talent. Multiple outlets have reported that Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden is set to finally make his rumored move to become the next head coach of the Raiders. Contract details are starting to trickle out, and they are rather startling:
There is surely some sort of buyout clause in this contract that makes it unlikely Gruden will ever see the end of it or the full $100 million, but this still seems like a lot of time and money to commit to a guy who hasn’t been an NFL coach in a decade.
Gruden has a perfectly fine track record—he’s 95-81 in 11 years as an NFL head coach—but all he’s done over the past 10 years is work the telestrator and bark things at future NFL quarterbacks in a conference room. And, Dick Vermeil aside, the track records of NFL coaches returning to the sideline after lengthy spells away are not encouraging.
Coming off last season’s playoff appearance, the Raiders looked to be an ascendant AFC power. But they sucked in 2017, finishing 6-10 and firing head coach Jack Del Rio. There’s still plenty of talent on the roster, though, and it’s not hard to imagine them bouncing back next season. They’re betting a lot of money on the hopes that a TV personality who was a good coach during the last Bush administration can get them there.