Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham turns down Bengals to stay with Gators

By Adam Silverstein
February 13, 2019
Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham turns down Bengals to stay with Gators
Football

Image Credit: UAA Communications

Continuity on a college football coaching staff is key, and that’s just what the Florida Gators will have entering Year 2 under head coach Dan Mullen after defensive coordinator Todd Grantham chose to remain with the program rather than take the same job with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals.

A source close to the program confirmed to OnlyGators.com that Grantham formally made his decision, which was first referred to in tweets from players, then posted by Harrison Tenzer and first confirmed by GatorCountry’s Nick de La Torre. Grantham’s working relationship with Mullen and fondness for Gainesville, Florida, were cited as reasons for his decision.

Grantham, who emerged as the top candidate for the position with the Bengals on Wednesday, is the highest-paid Gators assistant in program history.

He was set to enter the second season of a three-year, $4.47 million deal and earn $1.49 million for the 2019 campaign. However, Florida announced Thursday that Mullen and athletic director Scott Stricklin took a “proactive approach” in extending Grantham’s contract at the end of the 2018 season. Grantham has been extended through the end of the 2021 season and will earn $1.79 million annually. That is a raise of $300,000 in 2019, which makes him one of the highest-paid assistants in all of college football.

Though Grantham has a penchant for changing jobs frequently — he has worked for three teams over the last five seasons and five in the last 11 — part of his amended deal includes an updated buyout in which Grantham would owe 50 percent of his remaining contract should he leave for another collegiate coordinator or assistant job. He can depart for a head coaching opportunity or NFL defensive coordinator position without penalty.

Florida ranked 20th in scoring defense this season, a vast improvement from a year ago when the Gators posted the worst defensive effort in program history (69th). This despite Grantham running with a depleted secondary and thin linebacking corps for the vast majority of the campaign.

Potentially losing Grantham after National Signing Day would have been rough for Florida considering nearly every coaching staff has been filled out and the Gators hauled in a solid class of defensive recruits. Florida was already forced to replace two defensive assistants this offseason, bringing in Torrian Gray as cornerbacks coach (for Charlton Warren) and David Turner as defensive line coach (for Sal Sunseri).

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