Brad Brownell Contract Extension -- My Extended Thoughts

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Back in January Dabo got his extension and I discussed that extension at length then did some basic calculations to show how that contract would lay out for Swinney and Clemson University over the course of the contract.  That article can be found here.  Today I want to do something similar to better lay out Brad Brownell's deal and the potential annual impacts should the deal be terminated early.

First and foremost, I believe Brad Brownell is a good technical coach.  That was apparent last season as this was a Clemson team that wasn't overly talented yet was a bounce or a couple free throws away from making it to the Big Dance.  The big question we all had about Brownell was his ability to recruit and I am not satisfied that has been determined yet.  Overall, though, I've viewed Brownell's overall job at Clemson as acceptable.  He has improved the team from an X's and O's standpoint but needs to bring in more talent.  All this being said, I am all for extending Brownell's contract.  I also don't mind giving him a pay bump.  If you've decided he's the guy to extend, then a bump is justified and been earned.  While I would have liked the layout to be more incentive based, this is not my biggest issue.  Where my concerns lie are with the early contract termination portions and how they will play out.  These concerns become amplified when you consider the items we discussed pertaining to Swinney's deal.

We'll start by looking at the basic numbers (note, all dollar figure data shown below are in millions).

Year Annual Salary Clemson Buyout Agreement Brownell Buyout Agreement
2014 - 15 $ 1.55 $ 5.00 $ 1.50
2015 - 16 $ 1.65 $ 5.00 $ 1.50
2016 - 17 $ 1.70 $ 3.50 $ 1.00
2017 - 18 $ 1.80 $ 3.00 $ 0.90
2018 - 19 $ 1.90 $ 3.00 $ 0.50
2019 - 20 $ 2.00 $ - $ -
Total $ 10.60 $ - $ -

To better understand how the buyout amount really evolves out over time, I decided to examine the total amount remaining on the contract by looking at the total contract amount ($10.6 mil over six years) then subtracting out amount paid throughout the deal.  For instance, in 2014 - 15 Clemson will pay $1.55 million.  The total salary deal (sum of all the years of salary) is worth $10.6 million, hence there is just over $9 million left to earn in salary through 2020 (Total Remaining on Contract in Table below).  I also wanted to see how this compared to the amount of buyout Clemson must guarantee.

Year Annual Salary Total Salary Earned Total Remaining on Contract (Deal Minus Paid Cash)
2014 - 15 $ 1.55 $ 1.55 $ 9.05
2015 - 16 $ 1.65 $ 3.20 $ 7.40
2016 - 17 $ 1.70 $ 4.90 $ 5.70
2017 - 18 $ 1.80 $ 6.70 $ 3.90
2018 - 19 $ 1.90 $ 8.60 $ 2.00
2019 - 20 $ 2.00 $ 10.60 $ -
Total $ 10.60
$ -

I then wanted to understand how much the value of the contract would be compared to Clemson's buyout obligation should Brownell be dismissed early.

Year Total Remaining on Contract (Deal Minus Paid Cash) Clemson Buyout Agreement
2014 - 15 $ 9.05 $ 5.00
2015 - 16 $ 7.40 $ 5.00
2016 - 17 $ 5.70 $ 3.50
2017 - 18 $ 3.90 $ 3.00
2018 - 19 $ 2.00 $ 3.00
2019 - 20 $ - $ -
Total $ - $ -

As the numbers above show, termination after next season means Clemson pays out $5 million but does avoid shelling out $9 million over the next 5 seasons.  This is contrary to Swinney's deal where he was essentially guaranteed the total amount regardless of whether he was fired along the way or not.  In this respect, I like Brownell's deal more than Swinney's, particularly sooner than later.

The next question is "What will the total value of the deal be if Clemson parts ways with BB at any point during this deal (assuming the deal remains as is with no adjustments through the '20 season)?".  "Salary" is the amount scheduled for that season, "Total Salary Earned" is the sum of the amount earned during that season and all seasons prior during this contract via salary.  The "Total Worth" is the total earned value plus the buyout from Clemson (if terminated, how much total would Clemson have paid on this contract?).

Here is how those items fell in place:

Year Annual Salary Total Salary Earned Clemson Buyout Agreement Total Worth Assuming Buyout (Buyout Plus Previously Earned)
2014 - 15 $ 1.55 $ 1.55 $ 5.00 $ 6.55
2015 - 16 $ 1.65 $ 3.20 $ 5.00 $ 8.20
2016 - 17 $ 1.70 $ 4.90 $ 3.50 $ 8.40
2017 - 18 $ 1.80 $ 6.70 $ 3.00 $ 9.70
2018 - 19 $ 1.90 $ 8.60 $ 3.00 $ 11.60
2019 - 20 $ 2.00 $ 10.60 $ - $ 10.60
Total $ 10.60 $ - $ -

As you can see, the most overall worth that can be gained by BB through this deal would occur if Clemson dismissed him following the 2018 - 2019 season.  This value continually increases as time progresses, contrary to the deal made with Swinney that essentially guarantees a total deal worth $27 million regardless of when termination occurs.  Brownell's deal is much better for Clemson than Swinney's in that respect.

We said earlier that the penalty for Brownell resigning is more advantageous to him than Clemson's buyout is for the school.  This is shown below.

Year Clemson Buyout Agreement Brownell Buyout Agreement Difference
2014 - 15 $ 5.00 $ 1.50 $ 3.50
2015 - 16 $ 5.00 $ 1.50 $ 3.50
2016 - 17 $ 3.50 $ 1.00 $ 2.50
2017 - 18 $ 3.00 $ 0.90 $ 2.10
2018 - 19 $ 3.00 $ 0.50 $ 2.50
2019 - 20 $ - $ - $ -

Throughout the deal, Brownell's ability to leave will cost him much less than Clemson's ability to part ways with him.  I really wish that D-Rad would have assured a more equal amount of risk for each side but do understand that Brownell has to have concerns with nearer-term recruiting when one considers that Littlejohn will be out of service for an entire year.  When you compare this deal to the one Swinney got, it is much fairer to Clemson than the Swinney contract extension.  You'll recall there that Dabo is going to get $27 mil (essentially the full value of the total deal) from Clemson no matter what happens on the football field.  In the Brownell deal, Brownell is not guaranteed the full contract period amount though he does have the security of a $3 - $5 million buyout if Clemson chooses to fire him prior to the completion of his deal.

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