The Oakland Raiders have a contract agreement “basically” in place with Jon Gruden and, barring any last-minute snags, they are likely to introduce him as their coach early next week, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.
The deal is expected to be worth as much as $10 million per season and could be for as long as 10 years, according to that person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made.
Gruden, 54, is set to return to coaching after an absence of nearly a decade. He last coached in the NFL in the 2008 season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Super Bowl-winning coach has been the analyst for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” broadcasts and is scheduled to work Saturday’s Titans-Chiefs AFC playoff game in Kansas City. That would be his final TV assignment, assuming his deal with the Raiders is completed and announced next week.
Gruden coached the Raiders between the 1998 and 2001 seasons. He was sent to the Buccaneers in a rare trade of a coach by late Raiders owner Al Davis. He won the Super Bowl in his first season with the Buccaneers, beating the Raiders.
The Raiders fired Jack Del Rio on Sunday after completing a 6-10 season. ESPN reported the day before the Raiders’ season finale that Mark Davis, the team’s owner and son of Al Davis, was prepared to make Gruden a lucrative offer.
The team’s pursuit of Gruden raised questions as to whether the Raiders complied with the Rooney Rule, which requires each NFL franchise with a head coaching vacancy to interview at least one minority candidate. Both the league and the Fritz Pollard Alliance, the diversity group that works closely with the NFL on its minority hiring practices, said the Raiders complied with the rule.
Gruden has been lining up potential members of his staff. It is believed that he will bring in Cincinnati Bengals coordinator Paul Guenther to run his defense.
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