Sean Payton surpasses Bill Belichick as highest paid U.S. coach

Chuck Cook -US PRESSWIRE

Bill Belichick might be the best coach in the NFL, but he's no longer the highest paid, according to Forbes.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has surpassed Bill Belichick as the highest-paid coach in the NFL and the highest paid coach in the United States, according to a new list from Forbes. They have Payton getting paid an estimated $8 million per year over the course of his five-year contract, half a million more than Belichick at No. 2.

Every year, it seems like a new player is looking to set the record for "highest paid player at this position." Quarterbacks, in particular, are starting to get a little out of control. That doesn't show any signs of slowing down, so good luck to teams such as the Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, who have young, talented quarterbacks.

But there are other competitive contracts in the NFL: the ones signed by head coaches. There are plenty of things a head coach considers that are important, from the power he'll have over the roster to the general manager he's working with, but money talks. Payton's contract extension was voided by the NFL in the wake of the Saints bounty scandal, and the Saints immediately snatched Payton back up when he became a free agent.

Would another team have signed Payton if the Saints gave him a low-ball offer? It's possible, but Payton is valuable to the Saints. It seems like their window of opportunity might be closing, but he led the Saints to their first ever Super Bowl championship in 2010 and has a 62-34 record as a head coach.

Belichick is probably the best coach in the NFL, and his contract is in-line with that. He's below Payton on the pay list, but he's got an annual salary of $7.5 million; it's hard to imagine him ever getting ousted in New England. He'll be there until he's done.

The other noteworthy thing about the Forbes list is that Andy Reid, a new hire, is tied for No. 2 with Belichick. He's making an estimated $7.5 million annually with the Kansas City Chiefs and hasn't coaches a single game for them. That said, he took the Philadelphia Eagles to five NFC Championship games and has a career record of 130-93.

Pete Carroll is listed in third place with an annual salary of $7 million, with a 58-54 record, though he has started to turn the team around. He had to get a high contract, given that the Seahawks were luring him away from USC, where he was doing quite well. Jeff FIsher and Mike Shanahan are tied with him at $7 million, and their coaching pedigrees are unquestioned.

Tom Coughlin ($6.67 million per year) and Chip Kelly ($6.5 million) round out the NFL coaches. The only non-NFL coaches on the list are from the NBA: Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers ($7 million) and San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich ($6 million).

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