Nov 23, 2012; Fayetteville, AR, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles reacts to a play in the first half against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

Arkansas Offer to Les Miles & The Value of Leverage

First tweeted on Tuesday evening by SportsByBrooks and later reported on The Times Picayune, Arkansas is believed to have offered Les Miles an eye-popping five-year, $27.5 million contract to make an in-conference move. Glen Guilbeau reports Miles’ agent laughed off the rumor, but points out the same agent denied Miles’ hire to replace Nick Saban in December 2004.

The roughly $5.5 million a year such a deal would pay is comparable to Saban’s contract extension terms at Alabama, finalized this spring. Miles currently makes around $3.75 million, per a contract extension renegotiated in 2011. Miles is signed at LSU through 2017.

You can bet if there are legs to the rumor that LSU will come back with a sizable increase to Miles’ current deal, which has been official for all of 15 months. Regardless how real this offer may be, it’s a win for Miles.

Miles enjoys the invaluable luxury of leverage, a commodity rarely afforded one in the fickle world of coaching. Each time Michigan has had an opening, in 2007 and 2011, LSU has responded with contract extensions for Miles. The money Michigan eventually committed to Brady Hoke upon his hire is nothing approaching the hefty sum Arkansas is rumored to offer Miles.

The likelihood of Miles moving within conference to the Tigers’ Thanksgiving weekend rival may be slim at best; CBS Sports Bruce Feldman touched on the aforementioned leverage angle that it gives Miles with his current employer.

For Arkansas, it’s an intriguing gamble. The rumored offer forces a rival’s hand while upping the ante for the entire conference. With three openings currently in the SEC, there’s a competition outside of the competition. Arkansas, Tennessee and Auburn are likely to jockey for comparable prospects.

The stakes to buy in to play are high indeed. The pressure on Tennessee and Auburn to come with some truly substantial perks, as Arkansas has set the market price. This goes beyond the present coaching carousel season, too. With the SEC negotiating TV broadcast rights, the conference is ine line for a windfall that will give its members a lot more spending money. The new standard for SEC coaches is about to become astronomical.

Tags: Arkansas Razorbacks Football

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