The coaching carousel is in full swing despite any financial concerns COVID-19 has caused college athletic programs. Auburn University fired Gus Malzahn Sunday after finishing 2020 6-4. The university will owe Malzahn his $21.5 million buyout.

So, Auburn is moving on, but who will the Tigers hire?

Several candidates have emerged as targets, including Liberty’s Hugh Freeze and Oregon’s Mario Cristobal, among others. Freeze received a contract extension earlier this year from Liberty, and now, it appears that Oregon is working on a long-term deal for Cristobal, too.

“Source at Oregon tells me Ducks were close to big extension with Mario Cristobal before pandemic hit. Talks have picked back up. I expect long-term deal will be announced whenever this blasted season ends. Cristobal is 11th highest paid coach in conference,” tweeted The Oregonian’s John Canzano.

Currently, Cristobal is the Pac-12’s second-lowest paid head coach at $2.5 million per season, and the new reported deal would give him a higher base salary and a higher buyout if teams tried to poach him … like Auburn, reports Canzano.

Canzano added, “Everyone I’ve talked with believes a long-term extension will get done.”