The Carolina Panthers didn’t wait long to get their man.
On Tuesday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Panthers are hiring Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, inking him to a whopping seven-year contract worth $60 million — though incentives can push it to $70 million.
With Rhule being hired by the Panthers, and following the New York Giants’ hiring of Joe Judge, the Cleveland Browns are the only team now without a head coach – though they’re in the midst of interviewing several candidates.
Before he joined Baylor, Rhule was the head coach of the Temple Owls from 2013 to 2016, accumulating a record of 28-23. Rhule then joined the Bears in 2017, and they posted a 19-20 record in his three years at the helm. The Bears were 11-3 in Rhule’s final year as head coach, losing the Sugar Bowl to the Georgia Bulldogs by a final score of 26-14.
Rhule takes over a Carolina team that has missed the playoffs in three of the last four years, experiencing a major decline since their Super Bowl 50 appearance. The team fired head coach Ron Rivera after 12 games, with Perry Fewell replacing him for the final four contests.
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Rivera was a two-time Coach of the Year, leading Carolina to three NFC South division titles, four playoff appearances and one NFC Championship. He has since been hired to become the new head coach of the Washington Redskins.
Rhule, an offensive-minded genius, will have plenty of quality playmakers to work with in Carolina. Running back Christian McCaffrey became just the third receiver to rack up 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. Second-year wideout D.J. Moore is coming off a breakout year, recording 87 receptions for 1,175 yards and four touchdowns.
The Panthers also have to decide what to do at the quarterback situation. Cam Newton faces an uncertain future after missing all but two games, while Kyle Allen was inconsistent in replacing the 2015 MVP. An interesting offseason in Carolina awaits, to say the least.
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