As the Carolina Panthers’ playoff hopes have disappeared after a loss to the Atlanta Falcons, they now look ahead to a future that is mostly dependent on Cam Newton. More specifically, which team he plays for next season.
Since Newton’s contract isn’t up until after the 2020-21 season, the only way the Carolina Panthers can keep rookie Kyle Allen at the helm is to trade Newton to a team like the Chicago Bears or the Detroit Lions, or pull a New Orleans Pelicans and say he is injured for the season even if he’s not – just like Anthony Davis. They can definitely get a few draft picks in return for Newton, which would help them build around young Kyle Allen.
Ex-Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, who reportedly had faith in Allen and his future, was recently fired. The man who fired him, owner David Tepper, seems to want to start a new chapter in the Panthers’ history. Tepper recently purchased the team in May of 2018, for a record $2.2 billion.
Shortly after Rivera’s firing, Tepper said that a main reason the coach was fired was because of the loss to the 3-9 Washington Redskins, and Tepper wanted to start searching for a new coach but it wouldn’t be right to do that while Rivera was still there, per David Newton of ESPN. Perry Fewell was recently changed from Secondary Coach to interim head coach, and general manager Marty Hurney kept his job as well.
Tepper made it clear that it was nothing more than a business move, saying, “I like Ron”, and making it clear there was much respect between the two. The same goes for the players. Many of them, including Christian McCaffrey and Cam Newton, expressed their regrets and praised Rivera as a coach and a person.
Anyways, Tepper has already begun searching for a full-time replacement coach. Some of my favorites for the job include Mike McCarthy, Lincoln Riley, Norv Turner and Perry Fewell.
Mike McCarthy, former coach for the Green Bay Packers, is my favorite to get the job if Tepper is looking for NFL experience, and a coach that helped develop a young quarterback. McCarthy coached almost all of Aaron Rodgers’ career, except for this last year. With McCarthy’s help, Rodgers became one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. McCarthy won a Super Bowl in Green Bay, and is second in all time wins for the Packers, chalking up 125 wins with a win percentage of .618.
If Tepper is just going for who he thinks is the best with young quarterbacks, he should aim for Lincoln Riley. Riley coached the last two Heisman winners, quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. He is currently coaching Jalen Hurts, who has a chance at winning the Heisman, which would make Riley the first coach to have three consecutive quarterback Heisman winners. Riley has led Oklahoma University to a 36-5 record in his three years there, winning three conference titles and getting to the College Football playoffs twice (2019-20 CFP teams have not been decided yet).
If he wants familiarity with a head coach, Norv Turner is the way to go. He has been with the team for almost two years, as an offensive coordinator and currently a special assistant. He was a head coach for Washington, Oakland and San Diego, ending with a 114-122-1 record and making the playoffs four times in his 15 years as a head coach.
Lastly, if they don’t want to change systems too much from the end of this year to next year, current interim head coach Perry Fewell should get the nod. He’s never been a full head coach before, despite being a coach for over 20 years, but this is his second time as an interim head coach. He was 3-4 the first time, in 2009.
Since Rivera’s firing, the Panthers have already resigned LB Shaq Thompson (4-year extension worth $54.2 million) and K Greg Dortch, as well as waiving WR Donte Moncrief
With all seven of their picks next year, and whatever more they get from trading Newton or Allen, they should be able to put several talented players around their already talented core.
While it’s not the greatest position to be in, a few good moves could put the Panthers right back on top.