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What departing NFL coaches cost their teams per win

Four National Football League head coaches got fired in recent weeks, while another decided to "step down." But teams got more wins for their money out of those coaches this year than some franchises that kept their coaches.

Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.
Mitchell Left | Getty Images
Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.

The Philadelphia Eagles started the round of firings before the season even ended in late December, cutting ties with head coach Chip Kelly. The Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all sacked their coaches after play concluded, while the New York Giants' Tom Coughlin resigned after losing 10 of 16 games this season.

All of those coaches oversaw losing teams. But based on payment per victory, their ex-employers actually got better results for their money than some franchises who will retain their coaches.

NFL teams do not typically disclose coach salaries, so estimates come from local and national media reports. Coughlin made about $7 million per year, the most of the departing coaches.

Coughlin took in about $1.17 million for each of the team's six wins. The Browns' Mike Pettine, who had an estimated $3.5-million salary, also made $1.17 million per win for his team's three victories.

Kelly earned about $928,000 a win, while the Buccaneers' Lovie Smith made roughly $833,000 per victory. The 49ers' Jim Tomsula, meanwhile, was the biggest "bargain" among the leaving coaches, raking in $700,000 for each of the team's five wins.

But other coaches made much more over the course of their own losing seasons. The Dallas Cowboys' Jason Garrett raked in a reported $6 million, or $1.5 million for each of the team's four wins.

The Baltimore Ravens' John Harbaugh made nearly as much, or $1.4 million, for every victory. The New Orleans Saints' Sean Payton's pay-per-win fell just short of Coughlin and Pettine's at $1.14 million.

The 2015 numbers, of course, do not capture the coaches' full body of work. Harbaugh has gone 77-51 in his career and won a Super Bowl only three years ago.

Payton, meanwhile, holds an 87-57 record and won the championship after the 2009 season. Garrett is only one season removed from a 12-4 record.

Both the Ravens and Cowboys also dealt with significant injuries to their quarterbacks and top wide receivers, among other players, this year.