5:28pm: Rivera has actually signed a completely new three-year deal worth $19.5MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who adds that the Panthers head coach can earn an extra $3MM via incentives. Additionally, Carolina bumped up the pay of the rest of the football staff (Twitter links).
3:13pm: The Panthers have given Ron Rivera a one-year contract extension that will pay him more than $6MM a year, a league source tells Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Rivera is now under contract through the 2018 season and is now among the league’s highest-paid coaches. The team has since confirmed the extension via press release.
Rivera’s extension was actually completed earlier this offseason but the team did not announce it, Person hears. Rivera, who succeeded John Fox as the Panthers’ head coach in 2011, has posted a sub-.500 record in three of his five seasons with the team. However, his overall regular-season mark in Carolina is 47-32-1, and the team has won the NFC South three times in a row, earning the division title in 2014 despite a 7-8-1 record.
“It was an easy decision,” GM Dave Gettleman said in a statement. “Ron has worked extremely hard and we are thrilled with our current direction. Mr. Richardson has established a great culture here and Ron is a big part of that.”
Following a 2013 campaign that saw the Panthers finish 12-4 and earned Rivera AP Coach of the Year honors, Carolina locked up the coach to a three-year extension believed to be worth north of $4MM per season. The deal keeps Rivera under contract through 2017, but after this year’s NFC championship, the Panthers have extended the relationship beyond that with a pay bump.
Rivera’s contract puts him in the top 10 of the NFL’s highest-paid coaches. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll ($8MM+), Saints coach Sean Payton ($8MM), and Patriots coach Bill Belichick ($7.5MM) are the league’s highest earners. Rivera’s new salary puts him in the same ~$6MM/year group as Packers coach Mike McCarthy, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.
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