The New York Giants have reached an agreement in principle with Tom Coughlin to be their new head coach, several league sources have told ESPN.com
An official announcement could come as early as this afternoon.
Coughlin will sign a four-year contract and, while financial details were not immediately available, the deal is believed to be worth about $3 million annually. The sides met for a second time Monday and, by evening, negotiations had begun.
Early Tuesday, the contract was being reviewed by Coughlin's agent, Gary O'Hagan.
Coughlin was 72-64 in eight seasons as coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and took the Jags to two AFC championship games. He was fired after a 6-10 season in 2002, with two years left on his Jacksonville contract. Coughlin would have been due $3 million from the franchise in 2004.
The early-line favorite to land a Giants job that he ironically rejected in 1993, Coughlin brought a suit with him to New York on Monday at the team's suggestion. He had already made a favorable impression on vice president John Mara and general manager Ernie Accorsi, who spearheaded the search for the successor to Jim Fassel, and then impressed co-owners Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch in meetings with the two.
While the Giants' choice was said to be a close one -- Coughlin barely bested New England offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Lovie Smith -- the Giants had made it clear from the outset that they admired Coughlin's style and experience.
Coughlin, 56, was to have interviewed with Buffalo Bills officials later this week, but the Giants job was the one he had coveted.
During his one year away from the NFL, Coughlin stayed in close touch with the league. He visited at least four training camps last summer, served as an advisor to three coaches, including Bill Parcells in Dallas, and maintained key contacts. Over the last few weeks, Coughlin began contacting former colleagues and assistant coaches, working on a staff in the event he landed a head coaching position for 2004.
It is believed the Giants contacted LSU coach Nick Saban on Monday, as some expected them to do, to gauge his interest in their vacancy. Like Coughlin, Saban, whose team won the BCS national championship Sunday night, turned down the opportunity to become the Giants' head coach in 1997. Apparently Saban indicated that he would not pursue the Giants vacancy.
I like him for his control over the team and discipline. That was OBVIOUSLY lacking this season. However, I pray he stays away from any personell dicisions, so he wont jack up the salary cap like he did for the jags.