By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Among the many storylines prevalent from a busy Patriots offseason in 2018 was the near-departure of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. During Super Bowl week, it seemed like a done deal that McDaniels would head to Indianapolis to be the head coach of the Colts as soon as the season officially ended. The Colts even sent out a celebratory tweet when it came time to announce the move.
But in the 11th hour, we know that McDaniels was wooed by Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick to stay in New England. Now we have some more detail on how, exactly, Kraft kept the coach.
Ian Rapoport reported on NFL Network on Sunday morning that the Patriots gave McDaniels a contract that far surpasses what coordinators in the NFL ever receive — both in terms of length and dollars.
“Of course he bowed out of being the Colts’ head coach, and here’s my understanding of one reason why: The Patriots gave him a five-year contract, which is huge. Basically, it never happens for a coordinator, and from what I am told, he’s being paid like a first-time head coach, the highest paid coordinator in football by far,” Rapoport said.
Rapoport added a detail that somewhere in the course of that five-year deal, McDaniels’ salary rises over $4 million.
The news is significant for two reasons. Most pressing, it keeps a trusted coach and confidant of Tom Brady in New England, likely for the remainder of the quarterback’s career. In the docuseries “Tom Vs. Time,” Brady was seen making several calls to McDaniels, both in preparation for games and on the car ride home from games to decompress information.
The duo works extremely well together, with McDaniels serving as Brady’s offensive coordinator from 2006-08, and again from 2012 through the present. Prior to that, McDaniels was the Patriots’ quarterback coach. And though the two may have gone through the occasional sideline blow-up, it’s clear that the relationship is strong.
The second benefit involves some speculation, but keeping McDaniels in Foxboro for the foreseeable future does set up the Patriots somewhat nicely for a mostly seamless transition if and when Belichick decides to retire. Belichick has not hinted or spoken at all about any potential retirement, but at age 66 it’s fair to wonder how many more years he might want to go through the grind of being an NFL head coach. Surely, it may be appealing for Belichick to retain some sort of front office role as, say, president of football operations, while leaving the head coaching duties for McDaniels.
That part, of course, is just speculation. It’s possible that Belichick wants to coach for five or more years. But what’s known now is that Kraft made a very clear commitment to McDaniels, a larger commitment than any other team has made to any coordinator in the NFL.