Bill Cowher picked the perfect year to retire.
And the explanation is pretty simple. Salaries for head coaches are going well past the $5 million barrier, so by this time next season, Cowher will be the NFL's highest-paid coach and his magic number could be $10 million per season.
I know it sounds (or reads) crazy, but Larry Brown received that kind of money in the NBA. And next season Seattle will pay Mike Holmgren around $7.5 million. The rub with Cowher is that his team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, beat Holmgren in last year's Super Bowl. In Cowher's eyes, what's the difference between the two coaches? Well, they both have won a Super Bowl and Holmgren has lost two of them, Cowher only one. Holmgren's run was with Green Bay where he had Brett Favre and GM Ron Wolf providing him with very good personnel.
But the best reason why Cowher could break the bank is that four franchises could be bidding for his services next year and two of them, the Redskins and Cowboys, have owners who won't quibble with the asking price.
Add the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants into a potential Cowher bidding war, and you get the picture.
Browns owner Randy Lerner loves Cowher and he wouldn't hesitate to dump Romeo Crennel or write such a huge check. The Giants should enter the picture regardless of what Tom Coughlin accomplishes. The only thing holding back the Giants is that they probably wouldn't be inclined to pay much above $6 million. But you never know, and that's what Cowher is banking on. Cowher may like the Giants, considering two of his daughters play basketball for Princeton, which is a short drive from the Meadowlands. The bottom line is that Cowher will be able to make up whatever money he lost in 2007 by not working or coaching the Steelers.