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Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback and current Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh is a hot commodity in the National Football League.
Even though he hasn’t coached a single game at the pro level, at least two teams (Miami and San Francisco) are willing to pay Harbaugh $7 million annually. That would put him near the top of the heap in terms of pay among NFL coaches.
New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick is the highest paid coach at $7.5 million annually. Few would doubt his worth. But there are a few less worthy coaches on the top 10 list.
Washington’s Mike Shanahan is second, making $7 million annually. Pete Carroll, who was fired in New England and replaced by Belichick has been reborn in the pro ranks in Seattle and is making $6.7 million annually. Arizona’s Ken Whisenhunt, Tennessee’s Jeff Fisher and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin rank No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 on the list, with each making $5.75 million.
Philadelphia’s Andy Reid makes $5.5 million, New York Giants’ Tom Coughlin makes $5.25 million, and Jacksonville’s Jack Del Rio makes $5 million. Rounding out the top 10 is Chicago’s Lovie Smith who makes $4.8 million.
Missing from the list is Indianapolis Colts Coach Jim Caldwell, who makes about $3.5 million annually.
So is Jim Harbaugh, with no NFL head coaching experience, worth twice as much as Caldwell? Well, he’s done a great job at Stanford, but that’s still a tough call.
It could be easier to argue that Caldwell deserves at least as much credit as the coaches of two teams (Tennessee and Jacksonville) who have finished behind the Colts each of the last two years.
But maybe as New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan says about the Indianapolis Colts, “it’s all Peyton Manning.”