Penn State will charge any NFL team $6.75 million to hire Bill O’Brien

From the moment Bill O’Brien arrived in State College, rumors have been swirling about when he’d leave to take an NFL job. Between his prior position as Patriots offensive coordinator and the restrictions placed on Penn State by the NCAA, everyone was predicting that O’Brien’s stay as Nittany Lions head coach might be short.

After rejecting overtures from the Eagles, Browns, Chargers and Cardinals this past winter, O’Brien has agreed to a new deal with Penn State that gives him a substantial raise and makes it rather pricey for him to change jobs. has the details of the deal:

O'Brien's base salary rises from $950,000 to $1,932,779 beginning on July 1, 2013. O'Brien will get a five percent salary increase and a $935,279 lump sum payment.

The raise will elevate O'Brien's annual compensation to approximately $3.28 million. O'Brien will also receive $1 million from television revenue and $350,000 from Nike.

O’Brien guided his team to an 8-4 record despite NCAA sanctions that resulted in several high-profile transfers. The coach also secured a commitment from five-star quarterback Christian Hackenberg, the 24th ranked player in the country according to Rivals.

Another interesting part of the contract is how much it will cost O’Brien – or the team that decides to hire him – if he wants to leave Penn State after this season.’s Ian Rapaport sums up the financial situation:

$6.75 million is a lot of money, but it will only be a slight deterrent for NFL teams if O’Brien has another great year in State College. When you consider that Chip Kelly - a more successful college coach than O’Brien but one without the NFL experience - was given a deal averaging $6.5 million per year, it seems likely that a professional team that fell in love with the idea of hiring the PSU coach could absorb the cost.

(When negotiating with new employers, the departing coach will often add language to get some or all of his buyout taken care of. For a recent example of these discussions, read this L.A. Times story on Steve Alford, UCLA and New Mexico.)

Less likely to shell out $11.48 million? Opposing college teams, meaning that at the very least, Nittany Lion fans can feel secure they won’t have to face O’Brien in the near future. Watching him on Sundays, however? Still a very real possibility when you consider the deep pockets of NFL owners.

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