A month after the announcement that the Bruins would bring Chip Kelly back, the first details have been released on the terms of his latest contract.
The coach signed an extension to stay with UCLA football through the 2025 season in January, and Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times was the first to receive public records of Kelly’s contract on Friday. Kelly and the Bruins reworked their terms for 2022, then added three more years, bringing the total to a four-year, $22 million deal.
That $22 million figure only includes Kelly’s salary and fees, though — he also has a $1 million retention fee that must be paid on December 15 for the next three years. A long list of bonuses will also help Kelly take advantage of multiple performance and academic thresholds, with a maximum of $1.085 million available each year.
The biggest bonuses are $200,000 for winning a National Championship, $150,000 for making the National Championship Game, $100,000 for making the College Football Playoffs, $100,000 for making a Six Bowl of the New Year’s Eve and $100,000 for winning National Coach of the Year.
Achieving six regular season wins would net Kelly $10,000, while seven would net him $20,000, eight $30,000, nine $55,000, 10 $80,000, $11,130,000 and $12,180,000.
On the academic side, Kelly will earn $45,000 if the team has a graduate pass rate of $70,000 or more. UCLA football‘s academic progression rate could also pay dividends for Kelly as he is expected to earn $25,000 if he goes over 930, $35,000 if he goes over 940, $45,000 if he goes over 950, $55,000 if it exceeds 960, $70,000 if it exceeds 970, $85,000 if it exceeds 980 and $110,000 if it exceeds 990.
Kelly would earn $50,000 if he won Pac-12 Coach of the Year, and he can earn up to $100,000 in camp and clinic payouts.
On an annual basis, Kelly’s salary is actually lower in this new contract than it was in the one he first signed in November 2017. Kelly earned $5.6 million in 2021 , but he’s on track to earn $4.6 million in 2022 and $4.8 million. in the following three years.
Kelly’s buyout is also shrinking from the number it’s been in recent years, though there are several clauses and contingencies that decide who pays what both parties agree to part ways with.
If UCLA were to fire Kelly without cause, they would owe him 70% of the remaining salary, talent fees and retention bonuses between then and December 15, 2023. This means that if the Bruins decide to let Kelly leave the next day by the time the 2022 regular season ends, they would be obligated to pay him $4.06 million, according to calculations by Bolch and the LA Times.
If Kelly decides to leave UCLA before the end of the upcoming 2022 season, he will owe the team $3 million. If he decides to leave before the end of 2023, he will have to pay $1.5 million.
The coach had presumably been in the hot seat for the past two seasons, but a 2020 campaign shortened by COVID-19, an 8-4 record in 2021 and UCLA racking up $100 million in debt over the past few years stood out as reasons for the Bruins to retain Kelly despite his 18-25 overall record. It would have cost the university $9 million to fire Kelly earlier this offseason, but they decided to welcome him back under the new, reworked contract instead.
Now, Kelly and UCLA could each withdraw without financial repercussions starting Dec. 16, 2023, making that the target date for the two sides to agree on another extension. So, in the same way that Kelly’s original five-year contract was actually a four-year contract in practice – because college coaches almost never coached in a contract year for negotiation and recruitment – this extension really only adds two years to Kelly’s contract.
Exactly what the future holds for Kelly and UCLA remains to be seen, whether it’s a flurry of wins, crushing losses, mutual separation, or pursuit of bigger checks and professional titles. in the NFL. But for now, Kelly has sporting director Martin Jarmond who both signed the dotted line, and the status quo will remain unchanged at Westwood for one to four years.
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