More than six months after taking the job, Chad Morris has finally finalized his contract at Arkansas.
As detailed by Whole Hog Sports, Morris will work on a 6-year contract, expiring Dec. 31, 2023, that pays him $3.5 million in salary and up to $1.2 million in bonuses. The contract calls for a total of $1.5 million in retention bonuses — $500,000 apiece to be paid in February 2019, 2021 and 2023. All told, the contract guarantees Morris a total of $22.5 million in salary and retention bonuses.
Morris’s $3.5 million salary ranks fourth among the six new SEC head coaches. The head Hog is well behind Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher ($7.5 million) and Florida’s Dan Mullen ($6 million) and a mere $25,000 behind Tennessee’s Jeremy Pruitt, but ahead of Ole Miss’s Matt Luke ($3 million) and Mississippi State’s Joe Moorhead ($2.6 million). Morris earned $2.095 million at SMU in 2017, per USA Today.
Should Arkansas fire Morris without cause, the coach would be paid 70 percent of his remaining salary if the firing were to come on or before Dec. 31, 2022, and 100 percent of his $3.5 million salary if the firing occurred after Jan. 1, 2023.
If Morris were to leave Arkansas for another job, he would owe the school $3.5 million if he left on or before Dec. 31, 2019, $2.5 million if he left in 2020, $2 million in 2021, $1.5 million in 2022 and nothing in 2023. (The likelihood of Morris still working on this contract in 2023 is zero.)
This contract is notably less complicated than the ones Jeff Long negotiated with Bobby Petrino and Bret Bielema, and it does not include the non-complete clauses Long insisted for Bielema and his assistants.
Morris and Fisher took more than six months to finalize their contracts, and Whole Hog Sports notes that Arkansas AD Hunter Yurachek has yet to wrap up his own contract.
“You look at these contracts and they have become so cumbersome to protect both sides,” he told the site. “I mean the language in these is very extensive.
“Both sides are going back and forth trying to protect the institution, trying to protect the coach. I think that’s why these contracts now are taking so long, because there is so much at stake on both sides of the fence that there is a lot of negotiation back and forth, really on simple language, not necessarily the basic terms.”