Sports | November 18, 2021 10:07 am

Is Bill Belichick, The Highest Paid Coach in American Sports, Overpaid?

A new report from Sportico states the 69-year-old Patriots coach makes an average annual salary of $18 million

Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on against the Browns
Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on against the Browns.
Maddie Meyer/Getty

Per a new piece published by Sportico, Bill Belichick takes home an average annual salary of $18 million for being the head coach of the New England Patriots. If that figure is accurate, the longtime coach is the highest-earning coach in the NFL and also the highest-paid coach in all of U.S. sports.

Belichick, who was on the sidelines on Sunday as the Patriots crushed the Browns 45-7 for the team’s fourth straight victory and the 69-year-old’s 250th regular-season win as New England’s head coach, is ahead of NFL peers like Seattle’s Pete Carroll ($14 million), New Orleans’ Sean Payton ($14 million) and Kansas City’s Andy Reid ($12 million) as well as NBA counterpart Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, who is the highest-paid non-NFL head coach on the list with a salary of $11.5 million per year.

In January, it was reported by ProFootballTalk that Belichick’s salary is “believed to be north of $20M,” which is at least somewhat in the ballpark of the latest reported figure. However, even if Belichick is making “just” $18 million, is that perhaps an overpayment for a coach who has won six Super Bowls and notched 11 more playoff wins than any other NFL head coach but has only won a single postseason game without Tom Brady? We are about to find out.

Last season, his first in 20 seasons with Brady on the roster in New England, Belichick went with Cam Newton as his primary quarterback and the Patriots went 7-9 and failed to qualify for the postseason for the first time in more than a decade. It was a disappointing year for a coach who many consider to be the greatest in NFL history, but it was a complicated season for many reasons, COVID-19 chief among them, and Belichick was generally granted a mulligan.

This season is a whole new ballgame, as Belichick went on an unprecedented spending spree in free agency and also drafted a quarterback in the first round, Alabama’s Mac Jones, for the first time in his tenure as a general manager.

With an improved roster made up of young talents and savvy veterans, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and a potential franchise quarterback in Jones, Belichick and the Patriots sit at 6-4 and would qualify for the playoffs if the season ended today. If New England is still in possession of a spot in the postseason when the season ends after 17 regular-season games, it’ll likely mean the Patriots will finish at 10-7 or 11-6. Tack a playoff win, or two, onto that record, and Belichick will have earned his money (and banked well more than $1 million per win). Anything short of that finish, though, and one has to question whether the highest paid coach in American pro sports is actually worth the astronomical salary required to retain him.