Jimbo Fisher's Contract Buyout Is Ridiculous

2023 SEC Media Days
2023 SEC Media Days / Johnnie Izquierdo/GettyImages

Jimbo Fisher arrived as the head football coach at Texas A&M with much fanfare back in 2018. In eight years at Florida State, Fisher had racked up a record of 83-23, won three ACC titles, and gone to five BCS or New Years' Six bowls. Aggies fans universally lauded the hiring and paid no mind to the massive contract Fisher was given. Six years later, that huge deal has become a problem.

During his five-plus season in College Station, Fisher has a pedestrian record of 40-22. During the COVID-impacted 2020 season he led the Aggies to a 9-1 record and a berth in the Orange Bowl. Other than that, his teams have been entirely average and he's never led them to a 10-win season. In 2022, Texas A&M entered the season with sky-high expectations and the squad went 5-7 and, at one point, lost six consecutive games. Things haven't been better this season.

After a 52-10 Week 1 win over New Mexico, the No. 23 Aggies were soundly beaten by an unranked Miami, 48-33. Texas A&M is now 14-12 over the past three seasons. After the loss to Miami, Aggies fans have begun to wonder what it would cost to dump Fisher. The answer? A lot.

When Fisher was hired away from Florida State in December of 2017, Texas A&M gave him a fully guaranteed 10-year, $75 million contract. Before the 2021 season, Texas A&M extended the contract by four years (through 2031) and gave him a raise to $9 million a year. That number escalated to $9.125 million in January of 2023, and jumps by $100,000 every year. Like the initial deal, Fisher's new contract was fully guaranteed. In essence, it was a 10-year, $94.95 million deal.

Given that Fisher's contract is fully-guaranteed, the buyout is astronomical. If he was fired today, Texas A&M would owe him $76.8 million. That is, of course, assuming he was not fired for cause. His buyout numbers by year are below.

2023: $76.8 million
2024: $67.55 million
2025: $58.2 million
2026: $48.75 million
2027: $39.2 million
2028: $29.55 million
2029: $19.8 million
2023: $9.95 million

To reiterate: That's what the school would have to pay Jimbo Fisher just to have him go away. Then it would have to pay a new head coach on top of that.

It's fair to sit here and think college football coaching salaries are out of control. I agree. But Fisher's deal is egregious even by those standards. He's had one decent year with the Aggies and that came during an odd COVID season that saw random teams play well and some traditional powers stumble. Hell, even Indiana was ranked in the top 10 that year.