On Tuesday, a news story that has become nothing short of a spring rite of passage became official: Alabama agreed to a three-year contract extension with coach Nick Saban. The deal will keep Saban at his base salary of just north of $6.7 million for the next few years, but he’ll get a nice bump in 2017, thanks to a one-time signing bonus of $4 million.
That base salary of $6.7 million got us wondering - how does Saban’s salary rank in comparison to those of other big names in sports? Obviously, it isn’t more than say, a LeBron James, Mike Trout or Bill Belichick makes, but it’s still more than most realize.
Here are 9 sports figures who make less than Nick Saban:
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Steve Kerr (2017 salary: $5,000,000)
What does one NBA title, two straight trips to the NBA Finals and a staggering .841 win percentage in three seasons as a coach get you? Not more money than Saban, apparently. Kerr signed a five-year, $25 million contract when he arrived in Golden State three years ago – a deal that hasn’t been restructured since.
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Jason Garrett (2017 salary: $6,000,000)
You’d think that being coach of “America’s Team” would pay handsomely – and it does. Still, that’s a slightly smaller salary - with significantly more stress – than what Saban has at Alabama. Not only does the grind of the NFL season last longer, but Garrett has an, ahem, “unique” boss to deal with in Jerry Jones. In Tuscaloosa, Saban technically reports to AD Greg Byrne. But let’s be honest, we know who’s the boss of whom in T-Town.
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Dak Prescott (2017 salary: $540,000)
Garrett isn’t the only Cowboy who’s looking up to Saban in the salary department – so, too, is his star quarterback. As has been well documented, Prescott is on the most team-friendly contract in the NFL right now. If you add in the portion of his signing bonus that is due to Prescott in 2017, he will make a little over $630,000 – approximately one-tenth of Saban’s base salary.
Kris Bryant (2017 salary: $1,050,000)
If Prescott has the most team-friendly salary in the NFL, there’s no doubt that Bryant’s is the most team-friendly in baseball. The reigning NL MVP (39 home runs, 102 RBI last season) is still on a rookie deal that will pay him a little north of $1 million in 2017. The crazy part? That salary is actually a record-high for a pre-arbitration player. No worries, though, Bryant could sign an extension soon – and if he does, watch out. It could be in the range of $300 million in guaranteed money.
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Isaiah Thomas (2017 salary: $6,261,395)
How crazy is this: The backbone of the Celtics’ surprising Atlantic Division championship squad is the fifth-highest player on his ownteam! Thomas not only makes less than Saban, but approximately one-quarter of teammate Al Horford’s $27 million for 2017. Not bad for a guy who was the NBA’s third-leading scorer in the regular season at just under 29 points per game.
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Les Miles (2017 salary: $1,500,000)
Saban’s biggest rival on the field will be paid handsomely not to coach this year, and nearly $13 million in total buyout if he never coaches again. Sure, it’s a pittance compared to what Saban makes, but getting a cool $1.5 million not to work doesn’t sound too bad to me.
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Every MLB manager
Want proof that it pays to be a football coach? Saban’s $6.7 million base salary is more than any manager in the major leagues in 2017, according to MoneyInc.com. That includes Joe Maddon, Bruce Bochy and Mike Scioscia, who each make $5 million. On one hand, that makes sense; Saban has been more dominant in his sport than anyone in baseball over the past decade. On the other hand, those managers have to be at the ballpark 162 nights a year (plus spring training and playoffs), while Saban coaches 15 games a year, tops.
Everyone in the MLS except two players
My colleague Ryan Rosenblatt crunched these numbers, but Saban currently makes more than everyone in the MLS except for Kaka and Sebastian Giovinco, both of whom make just north of $7 million. Those making less than Saban include a handful of notable stars of Team USA: Michael Bradley ($6.5 million), Jozy Altidore ($4.875 million) and Clint Dempsey ($3.892 million).
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Every coach in college football not named Jim Harbaugh
Sure, Harbaugh makes $9 million a year in a uniquely-structured deal, but no one else in college football makes more than Saban in base salary. Not Urban Meyer. Not Dabo Swinney. And not the coach of that “other” school in Alabama. As they say, it’s good to be king. And Saban is unquestionably the king of college football right now.