A month after it was announced the Bruins would be bringing back Chip Kelly, the first details have been released on the terms of his latest deal.
The coach signed an extension to remain with UCLA football through the 2025 season back in January, and Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times was the first to receive the public records of Kelly's contract on Friday. Kelly and the Bruins reworked their terms for 2022, then added three additional years that brought it to a total of a four-year, $22 million contract.
That $22 million figure only includes Kelly's salary and talent fees, though – he also has a $1 million retention fee set to be paid on Dec. 15 for the next three years. A laundry list of bonuses will also help Kelly cash in on several performance and academic thresholds, with a maximum of $1.085 million available each year.
The biggest bonuses are $200,000 for winning a national championship, $150,000 for appearing in the national championship game, $100,000 for making the College Football Playoff, $100,000 for making a New Year's Six Bowl and $100,000 for winning national coach of the year.
Reaching six regular season wins would net Kelly $10,000, while hitting seven would make him $20,000, eight would be $30,000, nine would be $55,000, 10 would be $80,000, 11 would be $130,000 and 12 would be $180,000.
On the academic side, Kelly will earn $45,000 if the team has a graduate success rate of $70,000 or higher. UCLA football's academic progress rate could also pay dividends for Kelly, as he stands to make $25,000 if it exceeds 930, $35,000 if it exceeds 940, $45,000 if it exceeds 950, $55,000 if it exceeded 960, $70,000 if it exceeded 970, $85,000 if it exceeded 980 and $110,000 if it exceeded 990.
Kelly would earn $50,000 if he were to win Pac-12 Coach of the Year, and he can make as much as $100,000 in camp and clinic payments.
On a per year basis, Kelly's salary is actually be smaller in this new contract than it was in the one he first signed in November 2017. Kelly made $5.6 million in 2021, but he is on track to make $4.6 million in 2022 and $4.8 million in the following three years.
Kelly's buyout is also shrinking from the figure it stood at the past few years, although there are several clauses and contingencies that decide who pays what should to two sides agree to part ways.
If UCLA were to fire Kelly without cause, they would owe him 70% of whatever salary, talent fees and retention bonuses remain between then and Dec. 15, 2023. That means if the Bruins decided to let Kelly go the day after the 2022 regular season ends, they would be obligated to pay him $4.06 million, per Bolch and the LA Times' calculations.
If Kelly decides to leave UCLA before the end of the upcoming 2022 season, he would owe the team $3 million. If he decides to leave before the end of 2023, he would be on the hook for $1.5 million.
The coach had presumably been on the hot seat the past two seasons, but a COVID-19-shortened 2020 campaign, an 8-4 record in 2021 and UCLA accumulating $100 million of debt over the past few years stood out as reasons for the Bruins to retain Kelly despite his 18-25 record overall. It would have cost the university $9 million to fire Kelly earlier this offseason, but it decided to welcome him back on the new, reworked deal instead.
Now, Kelly and UCLA could each back out with no financial repercussions starting Dec. 16, 2023, effectively making that the target date for the two sides to come to terms on another extension. So the same way Kelly's initial five-year contract was really a four-year contract in practice – due to college coaches almost never coaching in a contract year for negotiating and recruiting purposes – this extension really only adds two years to Kelly's deal.
What exactly the future holds for Kelly and UCLA remains to be seen, whether it's an avalanche of wins, overwhelming losses, a mutual parting of ways or the pursuit of bigger checks and professional titles in the NFL. But for now, Kelly has athletic director Martin Jarmond have both signed the dotted line, and the status quo will remain unchanged in Westwood for anywhere from one to four years.
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Sam Connon is the Publisher and Managing Editor at All Bruins, in association with the FanNation and Sports Illustrated networks.


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