Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor before playing against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals extend Zac Taylor’s contract through 2026

Cincinnati extended coach Zac Taylor’s contract through the 2026 season after he led the Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance in 33 years.

Financial terms were not announced.

In his third year with the team, Taylor guided Cincinnati to a 10-7 finish in the regular season as well as playoff victories over the Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs before falling 23-20 to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood, Calif.

“Zac has come into the league and worked to develop the foundations for a winning program that can be successful over time,” Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement on Wednesday. “The fruits of Zac’s efforts were seen this year, and Zac is well-regarded by our players and coaches.

“I know the effort and passion Zac brings to the building and to our team, and I am pleased by his approach. And I think the city of Cincinnati sees him the way the players and I do. He’s brought excitement to the town and deserves credit and recognition for that.”

Taylor, 38, was entering the final season of the original four-year contract he signed in 2019. The Bengals were 6-25-1 in his first two seasons before winning the AFC North for the first time since 2015.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; East Hartford, Connecticut, USA; Houston Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen watches from the sideline as they take on the Connecticut Huskies in the second half at Rentschler Field at Pratt & Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Houston coach Dana Holgorsen agrees to extension

Houston and head coach Dana Holgorsen have verbally agreed on a multi-year contract extension, The Athletic reported Saturday.

Holgorsen, 50, guided the Cougars to a 12-2 record in 2021 that included a victory against Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl.

Contract details are still being finalized, per the report. Under the terms of his original deal signed in 2019, Holgorsen was due to make $4.2 million in 2022 and $4.3 million in 2023.

The original contract also contained a clause that required the school and Holgorsen to negotiate a raise should Houston be invited to join a Power 5 conference during his tenure. In September, Houston accepted an invitation to join the Big 12, a move that could happen as early as 2023.

Holgorsen is 19-15 in three seasons at Houston after compiling a 61-41 record in eight seasons at West Virginia (2011-18).

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly in the first half against the Southern California Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA extends Chip Kelly through 2025

UCLA rewarded coach Chip Kelly with a four-year extension through the 2025 season on Friday, the program announced.

Kelly, 58, is coming off his first winning season with the Bruins in four years as their coach. UCLA went 8-4 in 2021. The team was set to play in the Holiday Bowl against NC State before COVID-19 complications forced the cancellation of the game.

Kelly is 18-25 in four seasons at UCLA after stints with Oregon (2009-12), the Philadelphia Eagles (2013-15) and the San Francisco 49ers (2016).

“We are extremely appreciative of the entire UCLA administration for their support of our football program,” Kelly said in a statement. “We have a tremendous amount of gratitude for our players and staff. Their tireless work and commitment to our vision has built a great foundation. We are excited to continue to build this program into something that makes the UCLA fan base proud.”

ESPN and the Los Angeles Times reported that Kelly’s new contract will pay him $4.7 million per year.

Kelly was linked to Oregon’s vacant coaching job earlier this winter, but the Ducks instead hired Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning.

“This new contract represents the commitment, stability and investment needed to continue the upward trajectory of our football program,” Bruins athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a statement. “Since joining UCLA, our football team’s winning percentage has increased every year, including increased momentum in recruiting and strategic use of the transfer portal.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Liberty Flames head coach Hugh Freeze walks down the sideline during the first quarter against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Liberty locks up Hugh Freeze through 2028

Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze will earn more than $4 million per season on a contract extension through the 2028 season, ESPN reported Wednesday.

The deal would make Freeze, 52, one of the nation’s highest-paid coaches outside of the Power 5.

Freeze’s Flames are 7-4 this season heading into Saturday’s regular season finale against Army.

He is 25-10 in his third season with the independent program in Lynchburg, Va., including a 10-1 campaign in 2020.

The former Ole Miss and Arkansas State head coach guided the Flames to bowl wins in each of the program’s first two years at the FBS level.

Freeze’s name has been linked to several higher-profile coaching positions based on his success at Liberty.

He went 10-3 in his lone season at Arkansas State in 2011 and compiled a 39-25 record at Ole Miss from 2013-16.

–Field Level Media

Oct 11, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns offensive guard Joel Bitonio (75) is introduced before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Indianapolis Colts at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Browns sign G Joel Bitonio to 3-year extension

The Cleveland Browns signed Pro Bowl left guard Joel Bitonio to a three-year extension through the 2025 season on Wednesday.

The team did not disclose financial terms, but multiple outlets reported it was worth $48 million.

Bitonio’s deal was announced one day after the Browns signed right guard Wyatt Teller to a reported four-year, $56.8 million extension.

Bitonio, 30, has started all nine games this season and has made 104 starts since Cleveland drafted him in the second round in 2014.

“I’ve been here for eight years now and seen a lot of ups and downs. To be part of that and for the team to have faith in me and allow me to be here for my entire career, it really means a lot. It’s special,” Bitonio said in a team news release.

“You see guys switch teams a lot and go from team to team, great players in this league. I saw Joe Thomas end his career here. It’s something when you get into Year 8 and Year 9, it gets in the back of your mind where it’d be really special to be in Cleveland your whole career and try to win a championship with these guys.”

Bitonio was named to each of the last three Pro Bowls and has not missed a snap since the start of the 2017 season.

“After last season, we decided that one of our major football priorities would be to make Joel Bitonio a Brown for the rest of his career,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said. “Joel is one of our most decorated players and is the ideal personification of our ‘Tough, Smart, Accountable’ mantra. We value Joel’s high-level performance, leadership, consistency and durability.

“We are all excited about this extension and hopeful that at the end of his career we will all be looking forward to celebrating Joel’s gold jacket fitting in Canton.”

The Browns (5-4) head to New England this Sunday to face the Patriots (5-4).

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Austin, Texas, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy in the second half of the game against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State extends coach Mike Gundy’s contract

Oklahoma State announced a contract extension Friday for football coach Mike Gundy.

The new agreement keeps Gundy at his alma mater on a “perpetual five-year contract.”

Gundy, 54, has compiled a 143-67 record since taking the reins with the Cowboys in 2005.

No. 8 Oklahoma State (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) plays at Iowa State (4-2, 2-1) on Saturday afternoon.

“Coach Gundy has elevated the Cowboys to among the most consistent winners in college football during his 17-year tenure at Oklahoma State University,” athletic director Chad Weiberg said in a news release. “The numbers speak to our program’s success under his leadership.”

Oklahoma State is one of only seven teams to post a winning season every year over the past decade. The Cowboys entered 2021 as one of only three Power Five teams with a winning season and bowl appearance in each of the past 15 years.

“I am appreciative to Athletic Director Weiberg for his commitment and confidence in our football program, as well as our entire athletic department,” Gundy said. “… Coaching my beloved alma mater is a great honor for me. I look forward to working with my outstanding coaching staff to continue having a positive impact on the lives of the players and their families who allow us the privilege to help them succeed on the field and in life.”

Financial terms of the new deal will be announced at a later date, according to the school.

Gundy’s rollover deal had been reduced to four years in 2020, when the coach also took a voluntary $1 million pay cut. That followed a review of the program triggered when former Cowboys running back Chuba Hubbard criticized Gundy for wearing a T-shirt representing the far-right One America Network, or OAN.

–Field Level Media

Bills Taron Johnson  catching balls during individual drills.

Jg 081721 Bills Johnson

Bills sign CB Taron Johnson to 3-year extension

The Buffalo Bills announced a three-year contract extension for big-play cornerback Taron Johnson on Saturday.

Financial terms were not disclosed for the deal, but NFL Network reports it is worth $24 million, with approximately $14 million guaranteed. The deal keeps the 25-year-old in Buffalo through the 2024 season.

Johnson missed last Sunday’s 40-0 victory at Houston with a groin injury but has been a full participant in practice for Buffalo (3-1) ahead of Sunday night’s game at Kansas City (2-2).

A fourth-round pick in 2018, Johnson has 15 tackles, one forced fumble and one sack in three starts this season. He has 201 tackles, four sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions in 42 career games (23 starts).

Last season, Johnson returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown in a 26-15 win against Pittsburgh in Week 14. In the AFC divisional playoffs, he returned an interception 101 yards for a score in Buffalo’s 17-3 victory against Baltimore.

–Field Level Media

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is sacked by New York Jets defensive end John Franklin-Myers (91) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021 in East Rutherford, N.J.

Titans Jets 60

Reports: Jets agree to extension for DL John Franklin-Myers

The New York Jets agreed to a four-year contract extension with defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers, according to multiple reports Thursday.

No terms were available though Franklin-Myers, a fourth-year pro, stands to improve from his $920,000 salary this season — the last year of his rookie contract.

Franklin-Myers, fresh from his 25th birthday less than two weeks earlier, is off to a strong start this season with 15 tackles, three tackles for loss and a career-high-tying three sacks while starting all four games for New York.

Originally a fourth-round pick by the Rams in 2018 out of Stephen F. Austin, Franklin-Myers notched two sacks while playing sparingly for Los Angeles as a rookie. He posted a strip sack in the Rams’ Super Bowl LIII loss to the New England Patriots.

However, Franklin-Myers failed to make the team out of training camp in 2019. He got a chance with the Jets when they claimed him off waivers last October, though he was on injured reserve for most of last season and didn’t see game action.

Franklin-Myers recorded three sacks in 15 games (two starts) for New York in 2020 and won a starting spot this summer.

In his three NFL campaigns, Franklin-Myers owns 44 tackles, eight sacks, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.

–Field Level Media

Sep 14, 2019; Champaign, IL, USA; Eastern Michigan Eagles head coach Chris Creighton reacts during the second half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

EMU coach Chris Creighton extended through 2025

Eastern Michigan extended football coach Chris Creighton’s contract through 2025 on Thursday.

Creighton, 52, joined the Eagles before the 2014 season and has guided them to three bowl appearances. Before his arrival, Eastern Michigan had nine different full-time and interim coaches from 1992-2013

“Coach Creighton has helped change the culture and the direction of our football program during his tenure at Eastern Michigan,” athletic director Scott Wetherbee said in a statement. “We are excited about continuing to build upon a foundation that has seen our teams compete in three postseason bowl games, upset a trio of Power Five opponents, and reach unprecedented new heights in the classroom.”

Eastern Michigan finished 2-4 last season and is 30-51 under Creighton. Since the start of the 2016 season, however, Central Michigan has a 27-30 record.

The Eagles kick off the 2021 season on Friday against visiting St. Francis (Pa.) in Ypsilanti, Mich.

–Field Level Media

Jul 28, 2021; Orchard Park, NY, United States; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) speaks with the media after practice at the Buffalo Bills Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Bills QB Josh Allen signs 6-year, $258M extension

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen agreed to a six-year extension through the 2028 season on Friday.

The team did not release financial details, but ESPN reported it was worth $258 million — $43 million per season — and includes $150 million guaranteed.

Allen, 25, is coming off a breakout season in 2020 in which he made the Pro Bowl, guided the Bills to their first AFC East title since 1995 and broke single-season team records for passing yards (4,544) and touchdown passes (37).

Buffalo lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 38-24, in the AFC Championship Game.

Allen also broke the franchise records for completions (396), completion percentage (69.2), 300-yard games (eight) and total touchdowns (46) in 2020 and finished runner-up to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

Allen is 28-15 as a starter and has completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 9,707 yards with 67 touchdowns and 31 interceptions in 44 games (43 starts) since the Bills made him the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He has also rushed for 1,562 yards and 25 touchdowns.

The $43 million average annual value makes Allen the second-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, behind Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes ($45 million) and just ahead of the Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott ($42M).

Allen is the first quarterback in the 2018 class to sign a long-term second contract. Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns’ Baker Mayfield are also in line for lucrative deals.

–Field Level Media