Despite signing a new six-year, $32 million contract less than two months ago, Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com is reporting that Penn State officials are preparing for Texas A&M to make a run at head coach James Franklin.
Kevin Sumlin's seat in College Station has been varying degrees of hot during his tenure with the Aggies, but an early season loss to UCLA turned the temperature up significantly. His team now sits at 4-2 after seeing a four game winning streak snapped last weekend vs. Alabama.
Franklin, meanwhile, has become arguably one of the hottest coaches in the country, taking Penn State to a Big Ten championship in just his third year as the program emerged from significant NCAA sanctions, and now sitting at No. 3 in the country with a 6-0 record.
More often than not, these sorts of stories tend to be planted by a coach or agent looking for additional leverage. What could Franklin be seeking less than two months after signing a new deal? It was no secret that the negotiations took longer than either side expected. While Franklin received a raise, and his assistant pay pool reportedly grew, commitments to continued facility upgrades was long rumored to be a hold up. Perhaps this is just a move to ensure those commitments are upheld, or continue to progress.
Should Texas A&M decide to move on from Sumlin, they would reportedly owe the remainder of his salary from a six-year, $30 million contract. That deal was signed in 2013. Franklin's buyout, should he elect to leave on his own, is $2 million through this season, and then falls to $1 million for the remaining five years of the contract.
Also of note, Dennis Dodd has a history of creating James Franklin rumors. After all, he's the one who wrote the story two years ago about how Franklin was interested in the Miami job after Al Golden was fired.