I'm a loyal person, too, but not so loyal that I wouldn't take a $4.5 million raise. And even if he fails, he just gets another college job making big money. It'd probably even raise his recruiting profile (like it did for Saban). No one would hold it against him.
In fact, it probably works out better for him if he fails; he spends 3 years in the NFL, collects $68 mil, and then gets paid $5-6 mil for another college job.
Yeah, but it's not like they'd admit that the guy they hired was their 5th choice. And saying they didn't 'extend a contract offer' is also meaningless, because they'd never write up a contract unless someone agreed verbally in negotiations first. So it's impossible to know for sure.
That is just like Danny White didn't offer the TN job to anyone but Heupel. You negotiate, question and lay out different scenarios, but the only official offer is given to someone that you KNOW will accept.