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B1G 2015 // Randy Edsall's Contract Extension: What does it mean?

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What should we expect from Randy Edsall after his recent extension was announced last week?

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Last week the University of Maryland announced that they had extended head coach Randy Edsall for an additional three years.  The initial outrage before the full details was sort of amazing to watch as Edsall hasn’t really done much on the field to impress anyone, let alone Maryland fans who were fond of the coach he replaced.  Edsall was signed to a three year extension for $7.5 million dollars, which given his track record was very questionable.

It came out later in the day that Edsall’s extension contained a buyout clause in it much to the pleasure of Maryland fans.  Edsall’s original contract contained no buyout provisions, so even firing him for his poor performance would have put Maryland on the hook for $2.1 million a year through 2016.  The new buyout provision kicks in once the extension starts in the 2017 season at a meager $500,000.  Further, if Edsall is retained for 2018, there is no buyout to fire him after the 2018 season.  So now the finances look as so:

Year

Salary

Buyout

2015

$2.1M

$2.6M

2016

$2.1M

$2.6M

2017

$2.2M

$500k

2018

$2.2M

$500k

2019

$2.2M

$0

Not so bad, right? Maryland gets Edsall at little risk to them if he’s failing.  $500,000 is a meager buyout to a Power 5 school and would allow Maryland to instantly cut Edsall if he can’t improve the on the field product.

What does it mean?

Well, for starters this signals that Randy sucks at negotiating contracts.  What Power 5 coach would negotiate such a crappy buyout into their contract? He went from the best situation of having no buyout in his contract to one of the worst with having a meager buyout for the school to get out of it.  Not that smart.

Practically speaking, what it means is that the University doesn’t have a ton of confidence in Edsall’s coaching abilities.  He has done a lot off the field with regards to building the Maryland brand, recruiting and selling the new practice facilities that are needed to the right people in order to get approved, but for all that he has done off the field he’s done the exact opposite on it.  Sure you can point to injuries derailing the 2012 season and difficulties breaking in a new staff while dealing with a lot of transfers in the 2011 season but that does not fully explain the ineptitude.  Edsall has on multiple occasions made horrible clock management decisions and not overridden some real head scratching plays at key moments during his tenure.

To paraphrase athletic director Kevin Anderson, put bluntly Maryland is not satisfied and will not accept stagnation at where they are with on the field results.  I'm still in a bit of shock and quite frankly looking for who has taken over Kevin Anderson's body.  The man isn't accepting a middling .500 record, negotiated in a small buyout to show it, and still got the coach to sign that? This is a complete 180 from the man who forgot to put a buyout in teh two biggest coaching contracts the department has, let Randy continue his PR nightmare of the first two years, and quite frankly made the decision to hire Randy in the first place.  Now he's doing competent things? I'm impressed.

Enough of the negativity though, this also has a positive to it.  This extension allows Randy to continue recruiting without going into a lame duck year, which almost assuredly would be used against him by other coaches recruiting the same player.  The extension is as much putting Randy on notice that he needs to improve or else as it is a reward for the progress he's made off the field with the program and focus on locking up local area recruits.  The extension allows Randy to walk into recruits houses and talk to parents to let them know he will be there the entirety of the time their kid will attend the University.  This was needed or the recruiting would have started to fall apart as coaches used it against him in recruiting as well as the recruits themselves skeptical of the sales pitch from a guy who isn't backed by the school.

What should you expect in the next few years from Maryland?

This year? Not much I'm afraid, but we've discussed that ad nauseum this week.  I am more interested in what Maryland can do with the pieces they've put in place and continue to put in place starting in 2016.  2016 should see much bigger pieces move onto the offensive line as they've had time to refine technique, learn the system and work in a college S&C program.  I would expect we see either Brandon Moore or Quarvez Boulware step in at center while EJ Donahue finishes off a young interior at the RG position.  Maryland has focused very hard on the OL since moving to the Big Ten and 2016 is when we should start seeing it pay dividends.  Maryland is very young in the front seven on defense, so continued improvement is expected on that front.

Randy has recruited the pieces he needs to lay the foundation to succeed in the Big Ten.  Now with this extension, he is getting his chance to make it work.  That chance won't last long if he is not showing meaningful progress after 2017, but whoever is starting at the skill positions for Maryland is going to have some solid protection to make it work.  Let's hope Randy can find a clock manager for his own sake and really step back into that CEO role that many Maryland fans think he needs to stay in.