Updated with quotes from Grantham and more contract details . . .
ATHENS – Georgia’s Todd Grantham went from being the second-highest paid defensive coordinator in the country to the fourth-highest paid D-C in the SEC despite receiving a hefty raise and a three-year contract extension from the Bulldogs on Friday.
UGA released a draft of the newly-amended, 29-page contract contract per an open records request Friday morning. According to it, Georgia is going to pay Grantham $825,000 a year over the next three years to coordinate the Bulldogs’ defense. That represents a raise of $75,000 a year.
But because the market for defensive coordinators has been so active in the past year, Grantham actually fell back in the pack slightly in the SEC. Alabama’s Kirby Smart ($950,000) and LSU’s John Chavis ($900,000) received salary increases after last season and Auburn hired Brian VanGorder from the Atlanta Falcons for $850,000. Even Sal Sunseri, who previously was Alabama’s linebackers coach, got $800,000 a year to become Tennessee’s defensive coordinator. And Chavis’ new three-year deal calls for $200,000 increases each year, so technically he would be the SEC’s top-paid coordinator with an average of $1.1 million a year.
However, like the deal head coach Mark Richt signed this week, Grantham’s bonus structure was increased dramatically. Grantham would receive an extra $150,000 if the Bulldogs won the national championship and $75,000 for an SEC title.
“With Todd’s new bonus structure, we feel like he’s right behind the two guys who have won national championships here in the last two or three years,” McGarity said. “We feel like it’s a fair deal.”
Also, as was the case with Richt, Grantham’s buyout stipulations were decreased. He can leave for an NFL coordinator’s job or college head coaches’ job with no penalty. Meanwhile, should he make a lateral move to another college job, he’d have to pay Georgia 15 percent of his base salary ($400,000) in year one, 10 percent in year two and 5 percent in year three. That’s down from previously.
“It is lower than it was,” McGarity said. “In Todd’s situation, it just gives us protection from a lateral move. The NFL is a different story; that’s a different world. And the aspiration of any college coach is to be a head coach and we wouldn’t have a penalty for that. We want to help him become a head coach. That’s our job.”
And make no mistake about it, Grantham would like to become a head coach some day.
“First of all, I like the job I have; I enjoy being the defensive coordinator at Georgia,” Grantham told me in an interview earlier this week. “I enjoy coordinating and I enjoy football in general. But I think any time you’re in a profession, you’re always looking to take on the next challenge. What’s the next challenge? Being a head coach is obviously a challenge. It’s something I would like to do in time. But I’m not looking to do it right now. Those things kind of come. I think it’s important you do a good job with the job that you have and, if you do that, that creates opportunities.”
Grantham will have to act more like a head coach under the new agreement. More than half of his salary is identified as “supplemental income” for “all radio and television shows and services, appearances and product or service endorsements.” He’ll be required to make at least six public appearances and eight “product or service endorsements.”
Also, Grantham is known as a fiery competitor who infamously made a choke gesture to a Florida kicker in 2010 and had a none-to-nose confrontation with Vanderbilt coach James Franklin at the end of a game this past season. To that end, at least two clauses in the contract address behavior. Item 1-G reads, “conducting himself at all times in a sportsmanlike manner and coaching the team in such a manner as to ensure the student-athletes on the team act in a sportsmanlike manner.” 1-I says, “conducting himself in such a manner as to uphold the highest standards of conduct and decorum expected of administrastors, faculty and staff of the University and its athletic programs.”
According to the documents, the terms were agreed upon on Feb. 1. Yet the contract remains unsigned, which McGarity downplayed Friday.
“It’s with the legal guys.” he said. “The thing is, everything has been decided on; everybody’s in agreement. There’s no urgency. It’s just where it happens to be on the lawyers’ stack of stuff. The terms have never been an issue.”
Grantham’s deal comes on the heels of Thursday’s announcement of Richt’s new five-year contract, which doubled his performance bonuses and reduced the buyout agreements for both Georgia and Richt in the event either side decided to part ways.
At this point, no other raises are expected for the other eight members’ of the Bulldogs’ coaching staff. However, McGarity and Richt both said they’re looking into increasing performance incentives for assistants as well.