Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president and CEO Tim Leiweke stated in an interview with Bloomberg News a few weeks ago that negotiations were ongoing with a restructuring of Nonis' contract. MLSE is believed to have handed him a three-year deal when he was hired last January to replace Brian Burke.
While the team has confirmed the five-year length, it remains unclear at this time when the contract ends. If it's a renegotiation, the contract would likely conclude in five years. If it's an extension, it potentially could end in seven. Regardless, Nonis will be under contract for a lengthy period of time.
The extension has been met with skepticism by those who follow the team, via Pension Plan Puppets:
Nonis had two years left on his original contract; so why extend him now? Tim Leiweke has repeated the familiar Leafs blunder of locking up assets before we know their ability or contribution.
Realistically, Nonis 'led' the Maple Leafs to the playoffs with Burke's team. While Burke was still playing with a hand that included contributions from John Ferguson Jr., the 2013 roster was largely shaped by Burke. Nonis left that team unchanged, that is, until this offseason.
While the move expresses confidence in the manager, I think PPP is justified in questioning what has given MLSE that confidence. The moves by Nonis are only a few weeks old and it's far too early to properly evaluate his decisions thus far (in a positive or negative sense).
Of course, Nonis can be fired at any time, so it really just comes down to the Maple Leafs being comfortable with compensating him for the duration of the deal, which they apparently are.