In anticipation of other schools or the NFL coming after Todd Grantham, Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin gave the veteran defensive coordinator a contract extension and raise in January, shortly after the Gators’ victory in the Peach Bowl.
Stricklin’s preemptive strike turned out to be a timely move and may have been a factor in Grantham’s decision Wednesday to turn down the Cincinnati Bengals offer to become their defensive coordinator.
Instead of moving on to the NFL, Grantham is staying at Florida, which has extended his contract through the 2021 season and will pay him an annual salary of $1.79 million, making him the fifth-highest paid defensive coordinator in college football.
Sources said Grantham’s family weighed heavily in his decision to remain in Gainesville, where his son plays football at Buchholz High School.
His original contract ran through the 2020 season and would have paid him $1.5 million in 2019 and $1.6 million in 2020.
In his new contract that was signed Jan. 14, Grantham’s buyout if he chooses to leave would be 50 percent of the remaining value of his contact. Under his old contract, the buyout was only 20 percent.
With the new contract, the only college defensive coordinators making more than Grantham are Dave Aranda (LSU), Brent Venables (Clemson), Kevin Steel (Auburn) and Mile Elko (Texas A&M).
In his first season at Florida (and second under Dan Mullen), Grantham’s defense finished 20th in the nation in scoring defense (20.0 points a game) last season and produced an SEC-high 26 turnovers. The Gators gave up just 343.3 yards a game and recorded 37 sacks.
Grantham met with the Bengals on Tuesday and again Wednesday and was offered the defensive coordinator position, but he informed Mullen late Wednesday that he was remaining at Florida.
Grantham has coached with four NFL teams in the past — Dallas, Cleveland, Houston and Indianapolis.
He was the defensive coordinator for the Browns in 2005-07. He was the defensive line coach for the Cowboys, Texans and Colts.