Jon Gruden is (probably) going to be the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders. The news isn’t official, but it’s generally accepted as one of theworst-keptt secrets in the NFL. Gruden still has one broadcast to do for ESPN’s coverage of Wild Card weekend, but after that it’s expected that he’ll be named the Raiders’ new coach.
Gruden himself confirmed he was a candidate and offered a potential timetable for when a decision from the Raiders could be made on their list of candidates (of which he’s expected to be at the top of), as he told Jerry McDonald of the Mercury News.
“Well, I think I am being considered, yes. I hope I’m a candidate,” Gruden said. “My understanding is they’re interviewing candidates this week, and they’re going to let everybody know sometime early next week or whenever they make their decision.”
Rumors about Gruden’s return to the sidelines have been going on ever since he entered the booth, and it always seemed like a matter of when not if he chose to take a job. He’s passed on a number of opportunities in the past, including with the Tennessee Volunteers job in December, leveraging those opportunities into extensions and raises with ESPN, but this time it appears his former team has made an offer he can’t refuse.
There has been plenty of speculation about what exactly the Raiders are offering Gruden to pry him out of the cozy Monday Night Football booth, including reports that there could be ownership stake in the organization involved. On Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Gruden’s colleague) went on the Dan Patrick Show to discuss the latest Grumors and explained that when the details get made known he expects it to be the richest deal any NFL coach has “by a landslide,” but that he didn’t think ownership stake would be part of it.
“Dan, when it comes in I will just say that the total value of the deal will be the richest deal that any coach has, by a landslide,” Schefter said. “Now, I don’t know that the ownership stake thing is going to come through, that had been discussed 2-3 years ago. My sense is it is not going to happen. That’s my sense. But I do think it is going to be a lengthy contract, very lucrative, and look, I think they just made it such that he couldn’t say no and that’s what you’ve got. Whatever kind of contract we could conjure up in our own minds for whatever that could be, something you couldn’t say no to, that’s what it’s going to be.”
It’s going to be fascinating to see what Gruden’s deal includes and how many years it will run for. Gruden hasn’t coached since 2008, but despite a decade out of the coaching game, he’s still only 54, which puts him right in the middle of the pack of other NFL coaches in terms of age. Being that he reportedly makes nearly $7 million per year at ESPN, the $10 million per year number isn’t unreasonable to expect at all.
Nothing’s official, of course, but considering his colleagues at ESPN are discussing it in this manner as if it’s pretty much a done deal, its safe to assume Gruden will be heading to Oakland (and then Vegas) fairly soon and we’ll need to be prepared for a jaw-dropping contract figure.