The Lowest-Paid NFL Coach Makes 1/3 of Pete Carroll’s Salary

Pete Carroll makes $11 million annually to coach the Seattle Seahawks. If you ask the fans, he’s probably worth it. After all, Carroll has led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory, another Super Bowl appearance, and several other playoff runs. But did you know the lowest-paid NFL coach only makes 1/3 of his salary? These are the five lowest-paid NFL coaches.

5. Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys: $6 million

With his tenure, Jason Garrett appearing on the list of lowest-paid coaches seems rather strange. But when you account for how underwhelming the Cowboys have been in the playoffs during his time as the coach, the pieces begin to fall into place.

Garrett has won three divisional titles with only two playoff victories during his decade in Dallas. The team started off hot this season, going 3-0 to open the year, before experiencing a three-game losing streak.  

Despite public opinion being firmly against him, owner Jerry Jones has deemed Garrett fit to coach out of a sense of loyalty. What he hasn’t done is pay him like a top NFL coach. 

4. Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers: $5 million

In the first year of his contract, Matt LaFleur will likely be around for at least the majority of it. After the Packers had a rough 2018, LaFleur seems to have them on the right track. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the coach seem to have good chemistry.

LaFleur’s job is safe for a while based on early returns. If he gets a couple of deep playoff runs out of Rodgers in the next few seasons, expect a hefty extension at some point. 

3. Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings: $5 million

One of the best defensive-minded coaches in the NFL, Mike Zimmer has also been one of the most effective Vikings coaches in recent memory. With several playoff appearances, including a trip to the NFC championship game, Zimmer has been mostly a positive force for Minnesota.

But the Vikings need a playoff push this year or whispers around Zimmer’s job security could grow louder. They’re 6-2 through Week 8, only a game behind Green Bay. A strong finish could put them over the top for the division title if the Packers slip up. 

2. Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons: $4.5 million

For Dan Quinn, being one of the lowest-paid NFL coaches may be preferable to not being a coach at all in 2020. With the Falcons winning only one contest through Week 8, Quinn’s job security is very much in question. It goes to show just how much the league changes from year to year. In 2017, Quinn led Atlanta to a Super Bowl.

But his inability to close out a 28-3 third-quarter lead against New England coupled with his subsequent failures put him in the coaching crosshairs. It would be surprising if Quinn made it to next season — he may not even make it out of this one. 

1. Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins: $4 million

The lowest-paid NFL coach on the list currently makes about one-third of what Carroll makes. He’s also no longer a head coach at all. Jay Gruden was fired by the Washington Redskins after failing to win a game for the team. (In his absence, they went on to defeat the somehow more hapless Miami Dolphins.)

Gruden was dealt a poor hand in Washington. He witnessed the decline of Robert Griffin III, a drawn-out contract squabble with Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith breaking his leg, and the team drafting Dwayne Haskins despite him being incredibly inexperienced. It’s no wonder the Redskins have struggled this year.