Washington athletic director Troy Dannen said on the radio earlier this week he had a feeling Kalen DeBoer might be a flight risk around Thanksgiving when UW put a significant contract on the table and DeBoer didn’t commit to the program.

On Thursday, during a speaking engagement at the Bellevue Chamber luncheon, Dannen revealed that UW put a nearly $10 million-per-year contract offer in front of DeBoer after the Sugar Bowl. And when it wasn’t signed, Dannen started making contingency plans.

“We put numbers in front of him that were, quite frankly, unprecedented for this university,” Dannen said, per The Seattle Times’ Mike Vorel. “We put a Big Ten package in front of Kalen, not a Pac-12 package. … When it wasn’t signed, Kalen said the right things publicly, and I said the right things publicly … but it gives you pause.”

Dannen said he initiated contract extension talks with DeBoer’s camp 10 days after he took the Washington job, per Vorel. On Nov. 13, DeBoer was asked in a press conference about a contract extension amid links to the Texas A&M job.

“My focus is 100% on us playing ball right now,” DeBoer said then.

Two weeks later, Dannen said he put a nearly $9 million-per-year offer in front of DeBoer.

“We had an $8.7 million annual contract in front of Kalen at Thanksgiving,” Dannen said this week, per Vorel. “After the Sugar Bowl we had a $9.4 [million annual offer] on the table, which would have put him in the top eight in the country. When that didn’t get signed, I started talking to [Chris Petersen], just in case. ‘Hey, who do you like? Who have you run across?’”

After Saban announced his retirement on Jan. 10, things moved quickly. DeBoer interviewed with the Crimson Tide, and he was announced as the program’s next head coach on Friday, Jan. 12. He took offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb with him, and Alabama recently added former UW quarterback Austin Mack out of the portal.

Losing DeBoer after two seasons is certainly a blow. He went unbeaten at home with the Huskies, went 3-0 against Oregon, went 10-1 against ranked teams, and led Washington to a Pac-12 title and a College Football Playoff National Championship appearance.

The Huskies were set up nicely to move into the Big Ten. Now, they’re trying to put the pieces back together around Jedd Fisch and his staff, who have come over from Arizona.

DeBoer made $4.2 million at Washington in 2023. Fisch made $3.25. At UW, Fisch will make $7.5 million in his first year.