UNIVERSITY PARK - James Franklin will be making a lot of money at Penn State - much more than Bill O'Brien made - but relatively speaking, it will not cost him a lot to buy out his contract if he decides to leave the job.
Franklin received a six-year contract that will make him one of the top 10 highest-paid coaches in the country. His salary breakdown each year:
2014: $4 million
James Franklin shakes hands with Penn State AD Dave Joyner as school president Rodney Erickson looks on.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
2015: $4.1 million
2016: $4.2 million
2017: $4.3 million
2018: $4.4 million
2019: $4.5 million
The total of those six years comes to $25.5 million, or an average of $4.25 million per year. O'Brien was making $3.3 million a year.
Franklin's base salary starts at $1.3 million this year and goes up $100,000 each year. He also will receive $2.2 million per year for TV and radio compensation and $500,000 per year from Nike.
Franklin has a chance to make more money each year on top of those figures, based on retention and performance incentives. We'll get back to those amounts later.
The coach's buyout is of significant interest because one concern many had with hiring Franklin is that he's such a hot coaching candidate that he could leave Penn State for another job in a couple of years.
His buyout cost at the end of each calendar year:
2014: $5 million
2015: $5 million
2016: $2.5 million
2017: $2 million
2018: $1 million
2019: $1 million
O'Brien's buyout for taking an NFL job was $6.7 million after the 2013 season, a figure that wasn't considered a hindrance for a team that wanted his services. The Houston Texans wound up paying that amount in order to hire O'Brien.
If an NFL team would want to hire Franklin even as early as next year, his $5 million buyout is not so steep that it would scare away suitors.
By the time 2016 rolls around, the buyout would decrease to such a level that it would be an inconsequential amount to any major college or pro team.
Franklin said Saturday he plans on being at Penn State "for a very, very long time," and if that's the case then the buyout costs won't come into play. However, if another opportunity that he can't turn down comes up in the future, there won't be much from a contract standpoint stopping him from leaving.
"I think we got a fair contract for Penn State, I think it's a fair contract for James Franklin," the coach said.
Franklin was asked if all the money will change him in any way and responded by telling a story about how his wife handles the finances in the family.
"I have not seen a check since I got married," he said. "I get an allowance, which is about $200 a month. I get up, I'm usually at the office around 5:45, I get home around 10 or so. The family comes and has lunch with me. It's hard to spend a whole lot of money. So I don't see it, it's not going to change us, it's not going to affect us.
"I don't do this for the money. I never have."
Looking at other aspects of Franklin's contract, he will receive a $300,000 "retention bonus" on Dec. 31 of each year that he remains at Penn State.
Additionally, he can make up to $1 million per year in performance incentives, including $200,000 just for getting to a bowl game or $300,000 for appearing in what traditionally has been called a BCS bowl game. If the Nittany Lions make it to the four-team college football playoff, he would get $400,000, or $500,000 for being the national runner-up or $800,000 for winning a national title.
He could make from $150,000 up to $350,000 for winning a Big Ten division title or playing in the league championship game.