Deion Sanders' Colorado salary: How much does Coach Prime make annually?

Deion Sanders is in the process of turning around the Colorado football program. What is he expected to make as the head coach of the Buffaloes? Here are all the salary details you will need.
Deion Sanders, Colorado Buffaloes
Deion Sanders, Colorado Buffaloes / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

Deion Sanders signed a five-year deal this past offseason worth up to $29.5 million before incentives to be the face of the Colorado football program.

It is not about the money for Deion Sanders at Colorado, but he is also going to make some cash.

Sanders and his Colorado Buffaloes are fresh off their first win of the season. To be quite frank, it was the most important victory of the Saturday portion of the Week 1 slate. His Buffs, who went 1-11 the year before he arrived, shocked last season's national runner-up in No. 17 TCU at their place, 45-42. Though we all anticipated for the Horned Frogs to pull back, no one outside of Boulder expected this.

After having signed a five-year deal worth $29.5 million before incentives, let's take a deep dive into all that Coach Prime can make as the face of this upstart Colorado Buffaloes football program.

Deion Sanders Colorado salary: Full details and incentives

Sanders roughly makes $5.5 million annually to be the head coach at Colorado. That is a very competitve salary for a first-time Power Five head coach. However, only $500,000 of that is base pay, whereas the other portion of it comes through other financial components, such as media obligations and things of that nature. Keep in mind he only made $300,000 base at Jackson State.

Before we get to the incentives and the potential buyout for Coach Prime, there are two other very important parts of his contract: The annual pay escalator of an additional $200,000 for each season he is at Boulder and a post-Year 3 negotiation period, essentially a period where Sanders and the University of Colorado Boulder can agree to a new set of terms heading into the final two years of it.

As far as contract incentives beyond base pay, annual escalators and negotiation clause, here you go:

  • $150,000 if Colorado wins six games in a year and achieves bowl eligibility
  • $100,000 for every additional win beyond the initial six
  • $150,000 should Colorado win the Pac-12 (maybe the Big 12 now?)
  • $75,000 if Colorado plays in a Pac-12 Championship game/conference title bout, presumably?
  • $150,000 if Sanders is named National Coach of the Year
  • $75,000 if Sanders is named Pac-12/Big 12 Coach of the Year
  • $50,000 every time Colorado attains a team APR of 965 or better

Simply put, Sanders is going to get paid should he get Colorado football turned around in the next few years. To beat TCU in Fort Worth is shocking to say the least. This gives Coach Prime and his Buffaloes team a pretty realistic shot at achieving bowl eligibility in year one. So that's basically another $150,000 in his pocket most of us outside of Boulder did not think was remotely possible.

For now, it will be interesting to see what becomes of Coach Prime and how long he stays in Boulder...

If Sanders were to be terminated by Colorado before the end of his contract, CU would need to pay him 75 percent of his remaining salary as part of the buyout agreement. If he were to leave for a better job, college or pro, he would need to pay liquidated damages to the university. It starts at $15 million after the 2023 college season and drops down to $10 million in 2024 on so on beyond that.

Overall, it does not make sense financially for Sanders to leave Colorado for another college job until after the 2025 season. He could leave earlier for the NFL because of how deep-pocketed their owners are. The big key is for him to avoid paying seven figures in buyout money with his own cash. By the time the 2025 season reaches conclusion, we should expect for there to be a new contract.

All the while, Sanders continues to reap the benefits of being the new face of Colorado Buffs football.

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