Tide, Saban looking at new deal?

Updated: December 11, 2013, 8:04 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Representatives for coach Nick Saban and Alabama are talking about a contract extension, but the longer there is no agreement, the more uncomfortable Crimson Tide officials grow, sources told ESPN.

Saban has a verbal "offer of commitment" from Alabama officials to make him the highest-paid coach in college football, a source told ESPN's Paul Finebaum, rather than an actual contract, as earlier reported. Sources tell Finebaum and ESPN.com's Chris Low that while there have been discussions about a new deal, no formal offer is actually in place.

The reported imminent resignation of Mack Brown at Texas spurred rumors Saban could bolt and pushed Alabama to take action, sources told Finebaum. In March, though, Saban received a raise and contract extension through 2020 worth $5.62 million a year and said it represented his intention to finish his career in Tuscaloosa.

Still, there has been speculation that Texas would be willing to outpay Alabama for Saban. However, another source told ESPN's Brett McMurphy that if Saban leaves Alabama, it "won't be because of money" and that the coach and the school are "always in discussions" about extending the deal each year.

Alabama athletic director Bill Battle would not address Saban's contract situation when contacted by ESPN.

"Coach Saban is spending his time recruiting and getting ready for a bowl game," Battle said fromthe IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York. "It's business as usual and that's what we're getting ready for. We have a great recruiting class lined up. We have 14 prospects coming in this weekend and looking forward to having them and looking forward to playing Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl."

Battle was asked if he had any concerns Texas would target Saban.

"We're thinking about Oklahoma in our bowl game," Battle said and declined further comment.

Sources told Low that while Saban has been recruiting he is not presently involved in the process of a contract extension -- and added that Saban is not worried about the deal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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