Interested in an offensive coach for a second straight year, the Panthers are at least open to adjusting their search. With Mike Vrabel now available, the NFC South club is doing that.
Vrabel will meet with a third team about a head coaching vacancy, with ESPN.com’s Jeff Darlington reporting the Panthers will bring him in for a Thursday summit. This will occur following Vrabel’s meeting at Arthur Blank‘s home today. The Chargers interviewed Vrabel recently as well.
This would be an interesting fit for Vrabel, given his defensive background and the recent developments that led him out of Nashville. Vrabel clashed with ownership during his final year with the Titans, asking for full roster control and questioning Amy Adams Strunk‘s GM hire. The Titans had been connected to attempting to trade Vrabel’s rights, but they instead fired him. Vrabel is a well-regarded HC, however, had signed an extension following a 2021 season in which the Titans earned the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
The styles of Vrabel and David Tepper would seem to be quite something if paired together. Tepper is believed to be a hands-on owner, one whose reputation has taken a number of hits since he bought the Panthers in 2018. Most recently, the owner received a $300K fine for throwing a drink at a Jaguars fan. Tepper fired Frank Reich after 11 games, doing so after being widely rumored to have led the charge draft Bryce Young over C.J. Stroud last April. The Panthers finished 2-15 and do not have their first-round pick, having dealt it to the Bears.
Vrabel, 48, is the highest-profile coach remaining in the Panthers’ search. With Jim Harbaugh potentially closing in on taking over in Los Angeles, Vrabel may be down to Atlanta, Carolina or Seattle as options. While the Seahawks have not interviewed Vrabel yet, they are believed to be interested. Bill Belichick and several others loom for the Falcons’ opening.
The Panthers have brought in or scheduled second interviews with DC Ejiro Evero, Buccaneers OC Dave Canales and Rams DC Raheem Morris. While other targets met virtually with the Panthers, these are the only candidates to be on the second-interview radar as of Wednesday.