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Minnesota Football: PJ Fleck’s current contract

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With another extension pending, here is what PJ Fleck’s current contract looks like

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 Georgia Southern at Minnesota Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UPDATE 11/5: Minnesota extends P.J. Fleck with new 7 year deal.

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Rumors are flying that the University of Minnesota and PJ Fleck are nearing a contract extension. Really these “rumors” are leaks about an extension that very likely happening in the next couple days.

Ahead this extension here is a brief history of Fleck’s contracts, the details of his current contract and why the timing of this one is the right timing.

How about we start with a timeline?

  • January 6, 2017 - PJ Fleck agrees to become the head coach of the University of Minnesota

Terms: 5 years, $18 million runs through 2021
Coach’s Buyout: $1 million per season remaining on the contract paid back to the University

  • November 21, 2017 - Fleck and the U agree to a contract extension

Terms: 1 additional year, $3.5 million per year with a $50,000 increase each year and runs through the 2022 season
This contract was essentially the same as his initial contract, with a year added. Coach’s buyout remains the same

  • December 14, 2018 - Fleck and the U agree to a contract extension

Terms: 1 additional year, $3.55 million per year beginning in 2018 with a $50,000 increase each year and runs through the 2023 season
This contract was essentially the same as his initial contract, with a year added. Coach’s buyout remains the same

Currently, should PJ Fleck be fired the University would have to pay him the following...

  • Jan. 1, 2019: $12.5 million
  • Jan. 1, 2020: $9 million
  • Jan. 1, 2021: $5.5 million
  • Jan. 1, 2022: $3 million
  • Jan. 1, 2023: $1.5 million

And if PJ Fleck were to leave for another job this season, $5,000,000 would have to be paid back to the University.

That is where we sit today. Essentially the University has extended Coach Fleck twice under essentially the same terms they agreed to when he was initially hired.

Well, now Fleck has his team with an 8-0 record and poised to give the fan base a season many have not seen in our lifetime. Big time helmet schools have either already fired their coach or are very likely to be doing so in the coming weeks.

PJ Fleck’s name will be mentioned and mentioned often. From these major programs like Florida State and expected to be USC, to more “regular” Power 5 schools who will view their program as a step up from Minnesota (South Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi St, etc). On the one hand, these type of jobs open up every single year. There are helmet school openings (obvious upgrade jobs over Minnesota) and there are major conference program openings that may have some advantages.

This pending contract extension is less about fear about certain openings and more about doing what you have to do to retain the guy who seems to have your program going in the right direction. The Gopher program is guaranteed nothing and improvement will not be linear. But things are absolutely going in the right direction; on and off the field.

PJ Fleck is a fantastic leader for this program and after two paper extensions, it is the right time to make his contract more in line with what the University wants for this football program.

Should he be vaulted to the top of the Big Ten in terms of salary? No. He hasn’t earned that quite yet. Consistent winning that turns into consistent sellouts and more revenue generated for the athletic department needs to occur first. Currently Fleck sits at 11th in the Big Ten for salary.

I want this contract extension to accomplish three things.

  1. Give Fleck a significant raise that makes it unlikely he would leave the U due to money. He may eventually leave for whatever the reason, but it won’t be about earning an extra few hundred thousand, or even a couple million. Having ZERO knowledge of anything, I would guess his new contract will be in the $4.5-5.0 million range. A really nice raise putting him around 5-8th in the Big Ten without being an absurd amount for a guy who has had just 1 elite season.
  2. Give his assistants more significant raises. I love Fleck, but I also love this coaching staff. Are they all making good money? Yes, but there are certainly schools willing to pay a few hundred thousand more per year for some of these guys. And that could be a really significant pay raise for some of these guys. Will some guys leave? Yes, but it better only be for a promotion, not for more money. I really want to see all of these guys paid.
  3. Make the buyout for leaving higher. Fleck’s name is going to come up every year, as long as he’s successful. I don’t want to be stuck “having” to do a contract extension every single year when new helmet school job becomes available. Again...he may very well leave one day for a premier program (Notre Dame or Michigan) and who can fault him. But I want a significant dollar amount associated with that move (usually paid by the new employer). This year is $5 million, under the new contract I want that number to go up and cover the next coach’s salary for 2 years.

I am fully on board with a new contract for Fleck and his staff. I am fully rowing the boat. Looking forward to a contract that shows he is appreciated and several more years of Fleck at the helm of the Gopher program.

Row the damn boat.