Since buying the Panthers in 2018, David Tepper has employed six head coaches (including interims). So, with the organization eyeing a replacement for the recently-fired Frank Reich, Tepper surely wants his new hire to stick. So, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the Panthers are already connected to the biggest potential name on the HC market.
League sources told Chad Finn of the Boston Globe that the Panthers are a team to watch in the upcoming Bill Belichick sweepstakes. The iconic head coach could see his illustrious tenure with the Patriots come to an end following the season, and while Robert Kraft and co. could hold out for trade compensation, Belichick will likely have a say in his next landing spot.
Since most teams would surely welcome in one of the greatest head coaches of all time, you would figure the lowly (and tumultuous) Panthers would be hard pressed to recruit Belichick. However, Finn notes that there are a number of factors that could draw the 71-year-old to Carolina.
For starters, the smaller media market means the curmudgeonly Belichick wouldn’t have to deal with the same headaches caused by the Boston media. Next, the coach would be “far away” from the Patriots and the AFC East, and the Panthers aren’t scheduled to take on New England until the 2025 campaign. Belichick would also be closer to his home in Florida, where he likes to spend parts of the offseason.
Of course, financials could also convince Belichick to join the Panthers. Tepper is the third-richest owner in the NFL, meaning he’d be able to pay Belichick while also spend on a pricey roster. Plus, considering general manager Scott Fitterer‘s uncertain future with the organization, Belichick would probably have carte blanche to run the front office as he wishes.
From the Panthers perspective, a Belichick hire would run counter to recent reports that the organization was eyeing more of an offensive-minded coach. Further, Tepper made it clear that he wants his next coach to be with the organization for the long haul. While Belichick might still have a few years left in the tank, the Panthers would be foolish to expect a long-term commitment from the coach.
Belichick will be one of many coaches connected to the Panthers gig once the season comes to an end. For what it’s worth, interim head coach Chris Tabor might not be included in that grouping of candidates. Tabor told reporters that he was given no assurances that he’ll be considered for the full-time job (per ESPN’s David Newton).