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Follow the Money: Sean McVay vs. Zac Taylor

Super Bowl LVI’s two head coaches have a history with one another. So, who’s got the bigger contract and who is producing the most value? Let’s look into the details.

Just over five years ago, Sean McVay ascended to the head coaching role with the Los Angeles Rams at the ripe age of 30. He quickly became the NFL’s prototypical coaching prodigy and the kingmaker for a rising tide of assistants who have gone on to become coordinators and head coaches in their own right.

One of those coaches is Zac Taylor, McVay’s former quarterbacks coach in LA — and now, his opposite number in Super Bowl LVI as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.

These two have more than a little in common as former colleagues under the age of 40 with No. 1 overall draft picks at quarterback. But if we were out to determine which coach is ultimately creating more value for his team, we shouldn’t just look at their win-loss accomplishments. We ought to take a look at how much the Rams and Bengals are getting out of their boss men compared to their salary figures.

Let’s talk head coach ROI.

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Sean McVay’s Salary & Contract Details

Contract length: 5 years (signed extension in 2019)
Contract expires: 2024
2021 salary: $8.5 million

McVay is (somehow) still the youngest coach in the NFL, but his $8.5 million salary is top-five in the NFL among those whose compensation packages are publicly known (for 2021, that amounts to 23 coaches out of 32). His deal runs through the 2023 season, but even if the Rams fall short on Super Bowl Sunday, you’ve got to think that Stan Kroenke and Co. will extend the phenom once again.

Zac Taylor’s Salary & Contract Details

Contract length: 3 years
Contract expires: 2022
2021 salary: $4.5 million

Zac Taylor wasn’t supposed to get this far, this quickly. He took on quite a project when he left the familiarity of McVay’s LA staff to take the helm in Cincy, but what he’s done in just a couple short years (with some serious assists from standouts like Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and Trey Hendrickson) is eye-popping. A notable salary bump is absolutely coming.

Sean McVay vs. Zac Taylor: The Tale of the Tape

Zac Taylor

Team: Cincinnati Bengals
Hired: 2019
Career record: 16-32
Division titles: 1
Conference titles: 1

Age: 38
Home town: Norman, Oklahoma
College: Wake Forest (2002–03), Butler Community College (2004), Nebraska (2005–06)
Previous job: Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach

Sean McVay

Team: Los Angeles Rams
Hired: 2017
Career record: 55-26
Division titles: 3
Conference titles: 2

Age: 36
Home town: Dayton, Ohio
College: Miami (OH)
Previous job:Washington Commanders offensive coordinator

Where Do McVay and Taylor’s Salaries Rank Among NFL Head Coaches?

Salary figures via NBC Sports.

1. Bill Belichick (NE): $12.5 million

2. Pete Carroll (SEA): $11 million

3. Sean Payton (NO) $9.8 million

  • Payton resigned following the 2021 regular season.

4. John Harbaugh (BAL): $9 million

t-5. Matt Rhule (CAR): $8.5 million

t-5. Sean McVay (LAR): $8.5 million

t-7. Bruce Arians (TB): $8 million

t-7. Andy Reid (KC): $8 million

t-7. Mike Tomlin (PIT): $8 million

10. Ron Rivera (WAS): $7 million

11. Kiliff Kingsbury (ARI): $5.5 million

t-12. Vic Fangio (DEN): $5 million

  • Fangio was fired following the 2021 regular season.

t-12. Joe Judge (NYG): $5 million

  • Judge was fired following the 2021 regular season.

t-12. Matt LaFleur (GB): $5 million

t-12. Robert Saleh (NYJ): $5 million

16. Frank Reich (IND): $4.5 million

17. Zac Taylor (CIN): $4.5 millon

18. Mike McCarthy (DAL): $4 million

19. Mike Zimmer (MIN): $4 million

  • Zimmer was fired following the 2021 regular season.

20. Kevin Stefanski (CLE): $3.5 million

21. Kyle Shanahan (SF): $3.5 million

22. Mike Vrabel (TEN): $3 million

23. Brian Flores (MIA): $3 million

  • Flores was fired following the 2021 regular season.

Salaries not publicly known: Don Campbell (DET), David Culley (HOU, fired following regular season), first-year Sean McDermott (BUF),Urban Meyer (JAX), Matt Nagy, (CHI),Nick Sirianni (PHI),Arthur Smith (ATL) Brandon Staley (LAC)

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About The Author
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn is the Managing Editor of Boardroom. Before joining the team, he was an editor and multimedia talent for several sports and culture verticals at Minute Media and an editor, reporter, and site manager at SB Nation. A specialist in content strategy, copywriting, and SEO, he has additionally worked as a digital consultant in the corporate services, retail, and tech industries. He cannot be expected to be impartial on any matter regarding the Florida Gators or Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter @RealFakeSamDunn.