Chip Kelly Signs Extension, Set To Return To UCLA Football On 4 Year Deal

After over a year of speculation, the Bruins finally have some clarity on the sidelines moving forward.

Coach Chip Kelly came to an agreement on a four-year extension with UCLA football on Friday, as was first reported by The Athletic's Bruce Feldman. Kelly was less than 36 hours away from entering the fifth year of the $23.3 million contract he signed with the Bruins back in Nov. 2017.

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"We are extremely appreciative of the entire UCLA administration for their support of our football program," Kelly said in a written 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 fanbase proud."

Had UCLA and Kelly reached Sunday without a new deal, either side could have stepped away from the other without having to pay a penny of his $9 million buyout.

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Kelly was set to earn $5.6 million in 2022, but it appears 2022 is included as one of the four years Kelly just signed on for. According to an announcement from UCLA Athletics, the extension will go through the 2025 season.

"This new contract represents the commitment, stability and investment needed to continue the upward trajectory of our football program," said athletic director Martin Jarmond in a written 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."

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The exact terms of Kelly's new contract have yet to be determined. The buyout structure is going to be an important piece of the puzzle, but there is no word of what it looks like as of Friday.

Kelly had been seen visiting local high schools and community colleges on recruiting visits Thursday and Friday, leading many to expect an announcement of his extension was purely a formality.

Kelly went 10-21 through his first three seasons in Westwood despite the top-tier annual paycheck, not finishing over .500 in any of those three campaigns. Even after posting an 8-4 record in 2021, UCLA did not actually get to compete in its first postseason game under Kelly after the Holiday Bowl was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols.

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Sitting at 18-25 through four seasons, Kelly boasts the lowest winning percentage by any Bruin coach since 1924.

At the same time, though, Kelly managed to construct an offense that finished inside the top 25 in points per game and points per possession the past two seasons. Kelly also has two wins against crosstown rival USC during his tenure at UCLA, including a historic 62-33 blowout victory over the Trojans this past November.

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According to multiple reports, that win versus USC is what pushed UCLA's administration and Jarmond over the edge in wanting to bring Kelly back for at least another year. Kelly had an offer on the table from the Bruins as early as December, but while he flirted with the Oregon opening, he and his agent Jimmy Sexton did not agree to anything UCLA may have put forth.

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Negotiations apparently lasted another full month, surpassing the pseudo-deadline of the NFL's "Black Monday" – when a handful of professional jobs opened up – and nearly running up to the disappearance of his buyout on Sunday.

Kelly will be returning to Westwood with a new staff around him, as he has already brought defensive line coach Ikaika Malloe and outside linebackers coach Chad Kauha’aha’a on board to replace Johnny Nansen and Jason Kaufusi, respectively. Offensive line coach and offensive coordinator Justin Frye is going to Ohio State, and tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Derek Sage is the new offensive coordinator at Nevada.

Defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro resigned Wednesday after four tumultuous years in the position. With Azzinaro gone, that makes three coordinator vacancies and two position coach opening that Kelly will have to fill before the start of spring practice.

In terms of the personnel Kelly will have at his disposal, UCLA is set to lose seven starters on defense and as many as eight on offense as well. Although quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Zach Charbonnet returning, defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia, right tackle Alec Anderson, receiver Kyle Philips, tight end Greg Dulcich, safety Quentin Lake and left tackle Sean Rhyan all declared for the draft and running back Brittain Brown, left guard Paul Grattan, defensive lineman Datona Jackson, linebacker Jordan Genmark Heath, cornerback Obi Eboh, cornerback Cameron Johnson and striker Qwuantrezz Knight are all out of eligibility.

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Any other players, such as receiver Chase Cota and edge rusher Mitchell Agude, have until Monday to decide whether or not they're going to play for Kelly next fall or try their luck in the draft instead.

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With contract set to expire after 2022 season, UCLA and Chip Kelly agree to extension

Source:Yahoo! Sports

With contract set to expire after 2022 season, UCLA and Chip Kelly agree to extension