After Bielema was fired by the Razorbacks program back in 2017, he spent the next two seasons working as a head coach consultant and defensive line coach with the New England Patriots. At his new NFL gig, the former collegiate coach’s salary was $125,000 — a suspiciously low amount.
Arkansas accused Bielema and the Patriots of creating an artificially low salary for the coach to help him get more money from the school. His coaching deal with Arkansas still owed him $11.935 million after he was fired, but a clause in the contract allowed the university to subtract salary in congruence with Bielema’s future coaching jobs.
In examination of the case, the Patriots were able to keep the emails between Bielema and the franchise private, claiming they “contained competitively sensitive and personal information — including compensation paid to another member of the team’s coaching staff” and that the organization”would suffer competitive and commercial harm if this information is made publicly available,” per NBC Sports PFT.
Bret Bielema settles lawsuit with Arkansas, in news that will be welcomed by the Patriots. https://t.co/zLcWwZpgO0
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 23, 2021
But, that win was temporary. The judge on the case deemed the emails could come out at trial — likely leading to the decision to settle.
The university wanted all of its money back and Bielema wanted his checks to keep rolling in. Now, they meet somewhere in the middle.
Arkansas will pay Bielema $3.5 million off his remaining contract and the current Illinois coach will relieve the university of the remaining $3.9 million.