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There's an interesting new twist in the Arkansas vs. Bret Bielema saga

New Illinois head coach Bret Bielema hasn't coached a game for the Razorbacks since 2017, but his litigation with the Razorback Foundation over his buyout continues with more twist and turns, this time including an interesting twist from Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft around coaching salaries.

Back in 2019, Arkansas quit paying Bielema his buyout.

According to a new court filing from yesterday in Bielema's $7 million litigation against the Foundation, Arkansas felt like Bielema wasn't fulfilling the duty of his contract of making "best efforts" to obtain fair compensation from his new employer in the Patriots.

However, Belichick and team owner Kraft viewed the situation much differently, a report from Sportico shares.

Belichick and Kraft actually believed that they were overpaying Bielema, who was set to make $4.25 million annually with the Razorbacks through his deal that ended 2020, with a six-figure salary. Bielema initially joined the New England staff as a draft consultant making $25k before moving to full-time roles within the organization where he was paid $100k (assistant to the head coach) and $250k (assistant coach).

The court filing reveals that a number of "highly successful" coaches, likely with comparable resumes to Bielema's, had joined the Patriots staff for salaries as low as $15,000 annually because they "understood the value of the opportunity."

Bielema's side argues that the Patriots typically pay coaches without any NFL experience (like himself at the time), between $15k - $65k. At six figures, he was clearly making well over that.

There also appears to be a disagreement between the two parties on what type of roles would count as money Bielema would keep and would reduce the amount of the buyout. Bielema's agent believed it was limited to non-coaching income as Bielema had spent some time considering going into a broadcasting / TV analyst role. A drafting error in the contract led to that provision being more expansive than originally expected.

At Illinois, Bielema has a six-year deal worth $26.7 million with a $5 million salary pool for his assistant coaches and an additional $2 million for support staff.

There's a lot to take on this one, so head over to Sportico's piece for the full breakdown.