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Recent contracts for college coaches expected to send NFL coaching pay upwards

A run of $90 million contracts could cause NFL coaching salaries to double or even triple in recent years.

It took just a matter of weeks for $90+ million contracts to become normalized in college football, and that hasn't gone unnoticed in the NFL.

Jay Glazer reported for Fox's NFL pregame show Sunday morning, summarized here by ProFootballTalk, that recent deals inked by the likes of Jimbo Fisher, Mel Tucker, James Franklin, Lincoln Riley and Brian Kelly -- with more certainly coming -- turned heads at the professional level, and that NFL head coaching salaries could double or even triple within the next couple years.

As of now, the league is believed to have eight head coaches earning eight figures a year, led by Bill Belichick's rumored $20 million salary.

Two factors have historically suppressed NFL head coaching salaries, compared to college. One, NFL contracts are more ironclad than their college counterparts, so there's less of a need by ownership to overpay in order to fend off competitors. Two, without open-records laws, owners have no incentive to publicize how much they pay their coaches.

But this could soon change. For one, league revenues are climbing. The NFL topped $15 billion in total revenue in 2019, more than triple what the league generated in 2002.

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PFT writes that a third of NFL head coaches could earn $25 million 

Even if all 32 coaches earned $25 million a year, that's "only" $800 million per year. The NFL has been clear about its ambitions for years: $25 billion in annual revenue by 2025. 

Professional football is a for-profit business, with no cap governing coaches salaries. At $800 million a year, that's 3.2 percent of $25 billion. NFL players collectively earn 48 percent of football-related revenue. Three percent to the coaches running each team seems like a drop in the bucket, does it not?

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