With UF contract extension in back pocket, Grantham turns down NFL’s Bengals

UF defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had signed a contract extension Jan. 14. His contract was extended through the 2021 season with an annual salary of $1.79 million. [Brad McClenny/Staff photographer]

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.



  1. This is very good news for GATOR NATION! I also believe that there are coaches that would rather have the life of a college coach as it would give him/them more personal time with his/their family. The NFL season lasts longer and they have a much greater headache factor over college ball. It is something to behold a person that would take a selfless approach and not allow $$$ to change their perspective. Imagine what the recruits are thinking when a coach turns down an NFL offer to stay at the collegiate level? Nothing but positives all around. Thank you for staying Coach Grantham and get them young men coached up fast and in a hurry. GO GATORS!!!

  2. Gainesville is a nice place to live – the weather is great, it’s a college town, good schools and relatively low crime rate. I am sure that the stability of a longer term contract at UF, coupled with the higher pay, helped Coach Grantham to decide to continue being the Gator DC. Thank you Coach Grantham – God Bless, and GO GATORS!!!

  3. Someone mentioned he has kids in school. Not sure that has much to do with it but I’m of the opinion that while he like most would like a hc job he is a great dc. While being the hc would be nice if one knows his limits it may be better to be a great dc than a good hc. By what I’ve read about him he has moved alot in his career. He may be at the point… I’ve done this I’ve done that, I’m at a great place mentally, physically, and building something special here that could be the pinnacle of a dc career. Nothing wrong with being a dc that brought a defense back to life, and could very well be top 5 shortly. Being part of CDM staff that returns Gator Nation to the top and staying there would be great finishing Point in a career or a stepping stone to other things. I think CDM will make sure the staff that is getting results will be well cared for.

  4. Hopefully he will stay with Dan for the duration, like mean ole Mickey did for Coach Bobby. I don’t understand how anybody would live north of the Fl/Al/GA line, too cold. My “wife’s son in law” moved his family from Denver to Aurora, Il SW of Chicago. They are absolutely freezing to death! Also, I would think NFL travel is way longer and tougher than College. How much more could he have made in the NFL?

    • BSCE1981 – I call Daytona Beach home, but after a long stint in the US Army, and the fact the Army loved to send me to just about every desert on the planet, I have grown to prefer a colder area for that very reason. Not to mention that I read the Daytona newspaper online and see how bad it has gotten there. There is a Facebook site for Daytona Beach and all they talk about is how bad it has gotten there. I remember Gainesville very well and it is a great place to live. Is there still a mural on the wall under the overpass? It has been a very long time since I have been there. GO GATORS!!!

  5. The article said that Grantham is the 5th highest paid DC and finished 20th in the country in D.
    The following DC’s are more highly paid than Grantham. I wonder how they finshed in total D last year?
    1.Aranda LSU
    2.Venerables Clemson
    3.Steel, Auburn
    4.Elko, Texas A&M
    Can someone get those #’s?

    • LGN, Joe, thanks for the data. I had though of something going into bowl season and started looking into this and then life happened and I forgot to put it on here. Clemson was top 5 total defense #5 and total offense #3. The other three Ok #1 total offense #114 total non existent defense, AL #6 offense, #16 Total Defense , ND (most significant case they didn’t belong) #32 Total offense, #30 Total Defense. Now granted all schedules are not the same and the degree of difficulty in ones schedule is important, it appears the total stat on defense and offense was very significant this year. With the absolute blow out ND had and AL weaker defense showed against OK. AL being weak at defense really didn’t show until the end of the season though I think it was apparent all along. The Big 12 has had this problem for years we exposed then in the BCS game with a defense that should have allowed only one TD given they actually had a defense that year. The lopsided approach to the game in the Big 12 makes for a fast paced game but ignores the defense and that is their Achilles heel. ND is a little different but the selection committee had the same info we have here. A team with units ranking in the 30’s isn’t good enough to be on this stage. The schedule they play actually is to their advantage as the schools that play them can’t rate them against the other conference foes and it is like playing any non-conference opponent they break the rhythm of the schedule. Another reason if you don’t belong to a conference you shouldn’t be in. While ranking is relative to the schedule played this metric is important in how good a team is. This is evident in Miss St with the #1 defense but the #70 offense.
      I hope this new season improves even more (I feel it will) for the Gators . For us to be a NC contender we need to be top 15 in the offense and top 10 in defense. Because the SEC is so strong and we beat the crap out of each other in season the teams that are the top of the conference will at times not be top 10 in both sides. Not 28 ,42 Of course I am no expert.
      UGA was 13 total Defense and 18 Total offense. I think there are some definite holes in their game. Our schedule this year is going to show us who we are and how much we have to go. If these guys accept their mission and stay on track and on task We can move into the position of contender. To the troll… I think you guys have peaked already and it will show this year. We’ll see Nov 2. We have Miami and 5 conference games before you.
      GO GATORS!🐊🐊🐊

      • 65 – Don’t forget to factor in the $$$ involved in having ND in the mix. This has happened in the past concerning ND. If my memory serves me correctly (often time lately it has let me down…lol), I think ND made it into a bowl game with only 5 wins. It was because of the National draw that ND brings to the table. That is my observation for what’s it worth. With the group we have coming back, especially Reese returning, we will be fine at D. We just need Franks or any one of the other QB’s to play rock steady. If that happens then we will be in the hunt. GO GATORS!!!

        • If we stay relatively injury free and there are no bone headed issues we will be better than last year. UK has lost it’s horse in Snell but are a better team. We have a tough schedule that can be won if we are 100% there. If my gut is right we will do as well as last year but I see us doing better.

          • Gator65 – I must agree with you. I have to believe that our QB play will be better and the O-line will be young and ready for the season. CDM can implement different variables into how the O is operated. I mean there can be TE’s, RB’s, and WR’s involved in blocking in certain play calling. Plays getting the ball out of our QB’s hands faster will also be a factor in aiding the O-line. This is if it is necessary to assist them. CDM will know way before we will be privy to that information, so we get to speculate and hope. After the Daytona 500 tomorrow I am going to watch a GATORS game from last year. I am feeling the FSU game is in order…lol. GO GATORS!!!