Coach's seven-year deal worth $27 million
HOUSTON -- Several league sources here confirmed Sunday night that Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden, who guided the team to a Super Bowl victory in 2002 but suffered through a 7-9 mark this season, has agreed to a two-year contract extension.
The deal, believed to have been finalized last week and initially reported earlier Sunday by The Tampa Tribune, now gives Gruden a contract through the 2008 season. What it does not give him, sources said, is greater sway in football-related matters.
Despite rumors to the contrary, Gruden has consistently maintained that the only title he desires is that of head coach. He will likely have more input in the organization, but new general manager Bruce Allen, the former senior administrator for the Oakland Raiders, is still the top overseer of the football operation.
Allen replaced Rich McKay, who moved to the GM position with the Atlanta Falcons, and who conceded after his lengthy tenure at Tampa Bay that he and Gruden were not often on the same page over the past year.
The extension is worth nearly $9 million in so-called new money. Gruden, 40, originally signed a five-year contract that paid him $3.6 million annually. His salary will stay at that number for the 2004 and 2005 seasons and then rise to $3.9 million for 2006, the final year of his original contract. He will earn $4.3 million for each of the extension years, the 2007 and 2008 campaigns.
In essence, his contract becomes a seven-year deal worth about $27 million.
Gruden has compiled a 22-13 mark in two seasons with the Bucs. The highlight, clearly, was a victory over his former employer, the Oakland Raiders, in Super Bowl XXXVII, a win that culminated a 15-4 campaign.
During his stint with the Raiders, his first NFL head coach job, Gruden was 40-28 in four seasons, 1998-2001.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.
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