On Sunday, when they rid themselves of Chip Kelly after one year, the San Francisco 49ers became the first team in almost 40 years to fire a head coach after just a single season in back-to-back years. The bad news is they were also the last team to do it, firing coaches in 1976 and 1977. The good news is the next year they hired Bill Walsh.
But in 2016 it's a lot more expensive to fire coaches than it was back in the 1970's and now the 49ers are stuck holding a mult-million bill as a result of firing Jim Tomsula and Kelly after just a single season.
The estimates vary pretty wildly in terms of what exactly is owed, but it's believed that the 49ers will be paying people between $30 million and $70 million not to coach.
According to Adam Schefter on ESPN, it could be as much as $69 million. Nice.
Adam Schefter: 49ers owe $69 million to Chip Kelly and former coaches. pic.twitter.com/vwU9xlIgcO— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) January 2, 2017
A lower number comes from Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury-News, who projects about $30 million being paid to coaches:
By the way, the Yorks will be paying Tomsula another $7 million and will owe Kelly another $15 million or so (not counting potential offsets if and when he gets another coaching job), and then add in the costs of any multi-year deals on the old staff and Baalke's remaining guaranteed money ... and that's something close to $30 million to people who won't be working for the 49ers next season.
Let's try and run through some quick, admittedly vague math, knowing that we don't have access to all of the contracts on hand but having a pretty general idea about money owed and length of time said money is owed.
Trent Baalke wasn't promoted, but he got a vote of confidence last year from Jed York and was signed through 2018, Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reported at the time. That was the same timeline for Tomsula, who was making $3.5 million per year.
We're going to give Baalke more than Tomsula but less than Kelly and work off Kawikami's numbers with an educated guess, saying he makes $4 million per year.
|Jim Tomsula||$3.5 million||$3.5 million||--||--|
|Chip Kelly||$7 million||$7 million||$7 million||--|
|Trent Baalke||~$4 million||~$4 million||--||--|
That's $36 million and it hasn't even gotten to a single coordinator, much less the myriad staff involved with both coaching staffs.
If you look at Kelly's staff, there were basically 16 new guys hired when he came in (here's Tomsula's staff). Each of those guys isn't making a million bucks, but if you assume there are 32 -- at minimum -- people being paid by the 49ers on each of Tomsula's and Kelly's coaching staffs.
So even if $69 million is a little bit high, it's not THAT high. There's also offsets in place (maybe Kelly will take another job, etc).
None of this, of course, counts the new GM and new coach and new staff the Niners will be paying. When all is said and done the Niners could be approaching $100 million in coaching salary when 2017 kicks off.