Cal Football: Justin Wilcox Will Earn $15.9 mil Over Next 5 Years - Guaranteed

Justin Wilcox last fall led Cal to its first bowl bid in three seasons.Photo by Kelley L. Cox, USA Today

Jeff Faraudo

The contract extension Justin Wilcox signed this offseason will pay him a guaranteed $15.9 million over five years if he remains Cal’s football coach through the end of the 2023 season.

After an in-season raise and bonuses, Wilcox earned $2.8 million in 2018. By 2023, the final year of his new deal, he will earn a guaranteed $3.6 million. If he maxes out on-field performance and academic bonuses, that number would swell to $4.5 million.

But the new contract requires greater achievement by the Bears for Wilcox to earn performance bonuses.

Wilcox, who guided the Bears to a bowl game in his second season last fall, signed a new deal at the end of September, then in December had that deal sweetened and extended by one year through Dec. 31, 2023.

The first new contract bumped Wilcox’s 2018 salary from a $1.5 million guaranteed base — which would have been lowest in the Pac-12 — to $1.725 million, including a talent fee of $1.475 million.

After bonuses of $250,000 for winning seven regular-season games, $100,000 for a bowl appearance and $75,000 for the team’s APR score, that figure climbed to $2.15 million.

The updated December contract provided Wilcox a one-time $350,000 signing bonus (payable in December), plus a $300,000 retention bonus, pushing his 2018 earnings to $2.8 million.

The breakdown of Wilcox’s contract beginning in 2019 and running through 2023 includes a yearly base salary of $275,000 and a talent fee that starts at $2,225,000 in 2019 and will be increased by $150,000 annually to $2,825,000 in the final year.

His 2019 deal, minus any potential performance bonuses, will pay him a guaranteed $2.5 million.

Here are Wilcox’s annual contract guarantees through 2023:

2019: $2,500,000 (no 2019 retention bonus)

2020: $3,050,000 (includes $400,000 retention bonus)

2021: $3,300,000 (includes $500,000 retention bonus)

2022: $3,450,000 (includes $500,000 retention bonus)

2023: $3,600,000 (includes $500,000 retention bonus)

Unless the Bears enjoy a spectacular 2019 season, Wilcox is unlikely to match his 2018 total salary next fall because there is no signing bonus and his next retention bonus ($400,000) isn’t due until after the 2020 season.

Significantly, the deal offers lower rewards for the same achievement on the field. For example, a seven-win season in 2019 and beyond provides a performance bonus of $125,000 (down from $250,000) and a bowl bid is worth $40,000 (instead of $100,000).

The message from Cal’s administration seems to be: We’ve rewarded your performance with a bigger salary, but that comes with higher expectations going forward.

Here are the performance bonuses (capped at $900,000 per year including academic performance bonuses) available to Wilcox from 2019 through 2023:

— 6 regular-season wins: $25,000

— 7 regular-season wins: $125,000

— 8 regular-season wins: $200,000

— 9 regular-season wins: $275,000

— 10 regular-season wins: $350,000

— 11 regular-season wins $425,000

— 12 regular-season wins: $500,000

— Beat Stanford in regular season: $25,000

— Beat UCLA, USC or Oregon during the regular season and provided such team has at least 6 regular-season wins: $10,000 for each

— Participates in the Pac-12 title game: $50,000

— Wins the Pac-12 title game: $50,000

— Participates in a New Years 6 Bowl game: $100,000

— Participates in National Championship game: $100,000

— Participates in a Top-2 Pac-12 contract (non-New Years 6) bowl: $75,000

— Participates in other bowl game: $40,000

— Conference Coach of the Year: $50,000

— National Coach of the Year: $50,000

In the event Wilcox is terminated without cause, the university is required to pay him the entire amount of his remaining guaranteed contract.

If Wilcox opts to leave, his buyout fee ranges from $3,250,000 if he exits prior to the end of the 2019 season, decreasing each year to $1.5 million if he departs prior to the end of the 2023 campaign.


2018 Pac-12 football coaching salaries

Here is a list of 2018 Pac-12 coaching salaries (prior to any potential in-season raises), according to the USA Today (with Pac-12/national rankings):

1/19: Chris Petersen, Washington — $4,377,500

2/20: David Shaw-x, Stanford — $4,311,543

3/28: Kyle Whittingham, Utah — $3,787,917

4/38: Mike Leach, Washington State — $3,500,000

5/40: Chip Kelly, UCLA — $3,300,000

6/45: Mike MacIntyre-y, Colorado — $2,878,500

7/47: Clay Helton-x, USC — $2,625,965

8/54: Mario Christobal, Oregon — $2,500,000

9/61: Kevin Sumlin, Arizona — $2,000,000

10/62: Herm Edwards, Arizona State — $2,000,000

11/63: Jonathan Smith, Oregon State — $1,900,008

12/74: Justin Wilcox, Cal — $1,500,000

x-Private school - contracts are not public

y-MacIntyre was fired after the 2018 season

(Click for story on four Cal players who signed free-agent NFL contracts.)