Jon Gruden Says He’s Not Making $100 Million To Coach The Raiders

When he signed his deal to coach the Raiders in January, Jon Gruden’s reported $100 million salary was the talk of the football interwebs.

Eight months later, Gruden says he isn’t actually making $100 million. His declaration came without offering any details to what he is actually making (but he did possibly compare himself to actor Tom Cruise, though the Cruise parallel isn’t entirely clear from the quote).

“I’m not making $100 million, just so you know,” Gruden told NBC Sports Peter King last week. “Well, I never thought Tom Cruise, never thought his movies were any good but he’s making plenty of money. There’s a lot of things that I don’t understand. No disrespect to Tom Cruise. I’m sure he’s a great actor. But you know what? You just go about your life as hard as you can. You try to find something you love and you do the best you can at it. I never got into coaching for the money. I got into coaching because I wanted to be a quarterback coach. What the salary cap has become, what free agency has become—it’s amazing.”

ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio suggested that Gruden’s contract may be similar to what the players are getting – with the Raiders having an out in the contract before they have to dive into the big money:

“The truth may be, as surmised at the time, that the full $100 million isn’t guaranteed. Meaning that if he’s fired at some point before the completion of the 2027 season, Gruden won’t be walking away with the balance of $100 million. Until then, the structure of the deal is believed to be more along the lines of $25 million over the first five years, and $75 million over the final five years. And if much if not most if not all of the final five years isn’t guaranteed then, no, Gruden’s not making $100 million.”

What’s relevant about Gruden’s contract structure is that if he’s theoretically working on a five year, $25 million deal (that balloons in year six), he doesn’t have the same power within the organization that he would have it Mark Davis was locked in to paying Gruden $100 million.

Is Gruden still the most powerful man in the building other than the owner? Obviously, that’s been the case (though maybe not as much as an employee guaranteed $100M). But the idea that Gruden can’t be terminated in a few years because of his outrageous salary – that might not be the case at all.

twitter: @raidersbeat