A close examinaton of coach Bill O'Brien's amended contract at Penn State (which includes a $1M raise), reveals that the new deal has a significant NFL-related clause.
O'Brien, a candidate for several NFL head coaching vacancies this past season, has new language that makes it less costly to exit for an NFL job than for any other reason. He was, at different times, a position coach and offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots from 2007 to 2011. He left for Penn State last season.
According to section 7a(i), O'Brien's buyout if he leaves for any reason is his total salary (base salary, Nike endorsement deal and radio/TV deal) multiplied by the number of years left. Though there are extension provisions in the contract, the term is listed as ending Jan. 6, 2017. Doing the math ($3.28 million multiplied by 3.5 years left), the buyout would be $11.48 million if he leaves for "any reason."
If he leaves for an NFL job, per the contract, it is merely the base salary (1.93 million in 2013, 1.13 million in 2014, 1.65 million in 2015, etc.) multiplied by the number of years left -- partial years will be prorated. That means if he leaves after 2013, his buyout is $6.755 million (1.93 million mutiplied by 3.5).
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