NFL offensive coordinators have an important job, often coming up with the plays that the offense runs. But, except for some high-profile coordinators, they don’t always get the recognition they deserve and are overshadowed by their head coach and, potentially, the defensive coordinator.
Do offensive coordinators get paid commensurate with the importance of their position? Here’s a look at what the average pay for a coordinator is and who the highest-paid offensive coordinator is in the NFL.
What do offensive coordinators do?
The offensive coordinator is the member of the coaching staff who is usually in charge of the offense, overseeing the coaches of position groups, such as quarterbacks, wide receivers, and running backs.
The offensive coordinator is in charge of coming up with his team’s offensive game plan, and he usually calls the plays during games when his team is on offense — but some offense-minded head coaches prefer to call the plays themselves.
While most members of the coaching staff are on the sidelines during games, the offensive coordinator has a choice of where he stays during games; he can work on the sideline, or he can go up to the press box and communicate with the team electronically.
How much do offensive coordinators make?
Like with any profession, there are many factors that go into determining an offensive coordinator’s salary. One of the biggest determining factors is his experience, while which team he coaches also plays a role in how much he makes.
A coordinator for a team like the Cowboys — which is a big-market team that has had recent success — will likely make more than the coordinator for a team like the Jaguars, which doesn’t have as much money as the Cowboys to throw around to its coaching staff.
On average, an NFL offensive coordinator will be in the $1 million range in terms of his salary. The first coordinator to break the million-dollar barrier for an annual salary was then-Redskins coordinator Marvin Lewis in 2002.
To put a coordinator’s salary into perspective, top head coaches can earn multiples of the coordinator’s salary, with Raiders head coach Jon Gruden being one of the sport’s highest-paid coaches, with a $10 million annual salary.
Who is the highest-paid?
One way to become a top offensive coordinator in terms of salary is to have a long history of success coaching in the league, and being a former head coach doesn’t hurt. So if you put all of those together, a former head coach with a successful run as an offensive coordinator for a good team, you might be able to figure out who the highest-paid offensive coordinator is.
It is the Patriots’ Josh McDaniel. He reportedly signed a new five-year contract following the 2017 season that, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport, has him “being paid like a first-time head coach — the highest-paid coordinator in football by far.”
According to Rapoport, McDaniels’ contract will pay him $4 million per year. McDaniels has been the Patriots’ offensive coordinator since 2006, save for a three-year period from 2009-2011. During that stretch, he was the Broncos’ head coach in 2009 and 2010, then he was the Rams’ offensive coordinator in 2011.
He routinely gets mentioned as a potential candidate for various head coach vacancies around the league, but many people view him as the heir apparent to Patriots coach Bill Belichick. At 67 years old, and with a quarterback in his 40s Belichick is expected to retire sooner than later, and having McDaniels — who is currently 43 — would probably be the smoothest transition for the franchise.