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Saturday, February 12, 2005 

Money or your life

New England secondary coach Eric Mangini is suddenly a household name, and will be a defensive coordinator next season for the first time in his career. Most of the stories in the papers sum up the story this way: Cleveland and Miami are offering a lot more money than New England, but Mangini's ties to Bill Belichick may be more important.

But what about the quality of the jobs?

In New England, Mangini would inherit a very good defense, but with very little upside. The linebackers are getting older, and the secondary will likely remain patchwork if Ty Law is let go as expected. On the other hand, the defensive line is young and improving, and Mangini can lean on Belichick if times get tough. The fact that Romeo Crennel was able to escape Belichick's shadow and get a head coaching job in Cleveland is proof that if Mangini does a good job, he'll move up eventually, either in New England when Belichick decides to retire or somewhere else.

In Cleveland, Mangini would be starting from scratch, and Miami isn't much better. He would have the benefit of a top 5 draft pick (Miami #2, Cleveland #3) to help build the team. Plus, it may be easier to "improve" those defenses than in New England. There would also be a lot less pressure in the short-term, since expectations for the next year or two will be low.

This is a classic case where money shouldn't be the deciding factor, but it may be that the best job carries the biggest paycheck.

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