Dan Mullen is linked to the National Football League once again. It’s obvious coaching in a league like that is vastly different from Mullen’s current position. It comes with it’s own set of risks and rewards, benefits and drawbacks.
While we still don’t know if anything will come of Sunday’s report it’s hard to ignore the positives for Mullen of taking an NFL job.
1. It’s the NFL
Coaching in this league is essentially the mountaintop of the profession. It’s similar to when Billy Donovan took the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder jobs. Albeit, Donovan returned to UF before ever coaching a regular season game in Orlando. But he knew how much of a step it was to just coach in the NBA. Even Nick Saban—one year removed from a national title at LSU—and Steve Spurrier tested themselves in the league as head coaches. Hard to think Mullen wouldn’t be interested if the right job came calling. Not to mention you’re working for a for-profit entity in an NFL team. No more fundraising to build facilities or hire coaches.
2. No Recruiting
No more in-home or official visits. No more actively seeking out and convincing every person on your roster to come play for you each year. Yes, there still is the occasional recruitment of a coveted free agent or contract negotiations but not to the level of what college recruiting is. A coach is no longer reliant on the decision-making of 18-year-old high school students. Plus, you can offer players money to come play for you and you’re not breaking any rules.
3. Professional Athletes
This ties in with the whole “no recruiting” thing. But the fact is professional football players are doing this for a living. They’re incentivized by their contracts and don’t have to worry about things like remaining academically eligible or receiving improper benefits. Plus, unsurprisingly, coaches are dealing with players at an average age of 24 to 26, maybe 27 versus players 18 to 21 or 22. This doesn’t mean it’s drama-free but it’s hard to imagine the road isn’t a bit smoother.
This might be last but it’s certainly not least. Greenbacks make the world go round. And that’s no more evident than in the stupidly beautiful world of sports. It’s why teams sell merchandise and try to attract fans. It’s why NFL games are broadcast on your TV every week in the fall. As it stands, Dan Mullen is the 10th-highest-paid coach in college football at $6 million per year. Guess what the average NFL head coach’s salary is? Around that much. Saban received about $5 million with the Dolphins and the Panthers hired former Temple and Baylor coach Matt Rhule at a controversial (for owners) $8 million to $10 million. Mullen (or his agent Jimmy Sexton) could think either one of those figures is a realistic possibility. And if Mullen succeeds out of the gate then the numbers can only go up.
These pros could apply to most college coaches looking to work at the NFL level. They’re not Mullen-specific. They’re just my perception of what can make the NFL a hard-to-ignore possibility if the situation ever arises.
There’s no implication of what Mullen’s thinking or which way he’ll decide if Schefter is 100 percent right in his reporting. I mean how many coaches wouldn’t be “open to coaching” in the NFL?However, whatever happens, it’s hard to imagine at least one of those four aspects above wasn’t considered.