LSU coach Ed Orgeron hired former Minnesota Vikings defensive backs coach Daronte Jones to be the Tigers next defensive coordinator on Tuesday, and, according to a term sheet obtained by The Advocate, his contract is now known.
Jones and LSU agreed to a two-year deal that pays Jones $1.3 million annually plus a one-time payment of $150,000. The term sheet still must be approved by the LSU Board of Supervisors, which next meets on March 5.
Once approved, Jones will have a similar pay scale to newly hired offensive coordinator Jake Peetz. The board approved Peetz’s two-year contract, which pays him $1.2 million in the first season, $1.3 million in 2022 and gives him a one-time payment of $150,000.
Both deals are set to end March 31, 2023, an end date also stated on the two-year, $400,000 per year contract for newly hired passing game coordinator DJ Mangas.
Jones’ contract is tied with Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom ($1.3 million per year) for 13th among NCAA assistant coaches, according to contract data compiled by USA Today during the 2020 season.
The deal LSU and Orgeron struck with Jones is significantly less expensive than the contracts they were paying former coordinators Dave Aranda and Bo Pelini.
Jones’ agreement is just above the $1 million annual deal former coordinator Kevin Steele made in his one season in Baton Rouge in 2015. When Aranda was first hired, former LSU coach Les Miles hired him to a three-year deal worth $1.2 million per year.
Orgeron retained Aranda after taking over as full-time coach in 2016, and Aranda signed a new deal that paid him $1.8 million in 2017. Then, after being courted by Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher, Aranda signed a new four-year deal that paid him $2.5 million a year — a contract that made him the highest-paid assistant coach in the NCAA.
When Aranda left to become Baylor’s head coach after the 2019 season, LSU and Orgeron then hired Pelini to a three-year deal that paid him $2.3 million per year. The contract length, and its hefty price tag, made for an expensive divorce with Pelini after a disappointing 2020 season.
LSU is scheduled to pay Pelini a one-time payment of $4 million by Jan. 31, according to a termination agreement between the former coach and the school, which also includes five $14,000 payments through March 31, 2023.
Jones’ buyout clause with LSU calls for the university to pay him the remaining base salary ($400,000) and supplemental compensation ($900,000) remaining on the contract if the school fires Jones without cause.
Jones will have to pay LSU 50% of his remaining guaranteed base salary and supplemental compensation if he accepts a non-head coaching position with another SEC program or another FBS program within a 500-mile radius of LSU.
He’ll have to pay 20% of the remaining base and supplemental compensation if he accepts a non-head coaching position anywhere else. But if Jones leaves for any college head coaching position or any coaching position in the NFL, he will not be required to pay LSU any liquidated damages.
The contract also gives Jones a maximum post-season incentive of $75,000.