Byron Leftwich

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spins, many of the league’s offensive and defensive coordinator positions are open as well. Teams seeking new head coaches will soon begin OC and DC searches — some have already started those processes — but a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

The Browns and Patriots have begun 2023’s coordinator hires. Here are the rest of the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 1-30-23 (7:00pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Dallas Cowboys (Out: Kellen Moore)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Carolina Panthers 

  • Vic Fangio, former head coach (Broncos): Interviewed
  • Marquand Manuel, safeties coach (Jets): Interviewed
  • Kris Richard, co-defensive coordinator (Saints): Interviewed

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

AFC North Notes: Ravens, Lamar, Steelers

In a press conference this past Thursday, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta spoke to the future of several Ravens players as the team heads into the offseason. Although the free agency of quarterback Lamar Jackson is obviously the main headline of Baltimore’s offseason, DeCosta still has plenty on his plate from key free agents like cornerback Marcus Peters and offensive guard Ben Powers to veterans flirting with retirement like defensive tackle Calais Campbell.

Peters is headed towards free agency this offseason after three seasons in Baltimore. The Ravens have been fairly top-heavy at the cornerback position in the past few years with Peters and Marlon Humphrey. They invested some draft capital in the position last year, selecting rookies Jalyn Armour-Davis and Damarion Williams, but due to experience and injuries, they were still forced to rely on contributions from the likes of Daryl Worley and Kevon Seymour. The team signed free agent Kyle Fuller in the offseason, but a Week 1 knee injury knocked him out for the year. DeCosta hinted that the team will continue to try and add more talent at cornerback regardless of whether or not they are able to re-sign Peters.

Powers continued his play this year as a full-time starter and had his best NFL season in a contract year. He may follow the likes of former Ravens’ linemen like Ryan Jensen and Kelechi Osemele, who priced themselves out of a new contract in Baltimore in the past.

The Ravens were able to sign trade acquisition Roquan Smith to a long-term deal and now are faced with the contract situation of fellow linebacker Patrick Queen. Queen’s play elevated substantially while playing alongside Smith and has the Ravens considering his future going into this offseason. DeCosta said he isn’t ready to announce that they will pick up Queen’s fifth-year option, but he made sure to clarify that Smith’s contract won’t preclude them from signing Queen long-term.

Lastly, the Ravens have two esteemed veterans that could consider hanging up their cleats. Campbell mulled retirement last season and will likely kick the idea around a bit once again this offseason. Pass rusher Justin Houston is under contract for another season but could potentially call it a career. He stated recently that he does intend to keep playing, and both athletes met with DeCosta before leaving town for the offseason.

Here are a few more rumors from around the AFC North, starting with the main storyline for the offseason in Charm City:

  • Ryan Clark referenced a debate on ESPN’s first take recently about the details of offers made to Jackson. A source provided knowledge that the Ravens’ initial offer had $113MM in guaranteed money and that offer was eventually upped to $133MM. That guaranteed amount doesn’t come anywhere close to Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s $230MM guaranteed contract, but the second offer would be the most guaranteed money to any quarterback in the NFL besides Watson.
  • The Steelers’ coaching staff is set to undergo some changes this offseason. According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, one coach on his way out is assistant wide receivers coach Blaine Stewart who is set to join the staff at West Virginia University. Stewart’s father, Bill, served as head coach of the Mountaineers from 2008-10.
  • The Buccaneers parted ways with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich at the end of this season. The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly speculated that, unless Leftwich finds work elsewhere as an offensive play caller, the former Steelers quarterback could find a role as an offensive assistant on Mike Tomlin‘s staff. Kaboly posits that a role as senior offensive assistant/passing-game coordinator could be in play for Leftwich. Leftwich would essentially be a coordinator-in-waiting as current offensive coordinator Matt Canada is in the final year of his contract.

Latest On Buccaneers’ Staff Changes, Free Agency Plans

The Buccaneers are on the lookout for a new offensive coordinator, with Byron Leftwich being the highest-profile coach the team moved on from amid a spree of dismissals and retirements last week. Both Todd Bowles and Tom Brady voiced concerns about Leftwich last season.

Bowles and Brady complained about the offense’s predictability, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud, who adds the team’s lack of commitment to the run game was one of the issues. Bowles believed teams had caught onto Leftwich’s offense, which tumbled off its elite perch of previous years, and Brady problems with the offense emerged back in December.

Tampa Bay finished 25th in scoring, and although it ranked 15th in total offense, a last-place ground attack dragged down the latter number. The Bucs ranked 32nd across the board on the ground, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry and totaling just five rushing touchdowns. The Bucs went from 61 TDs in 2021 to 31 this season. Leonard Fournette‘s three-year, $21MM deal produced just 668 rushing yards (3.5 per tote) in 16 games. Much of these woes can be attributed to the changes to Tampa Bay’s interior offensive line, which lost all three of its previous starters — Ryan Jensen (injury), Ali Marpet (retirement), Alex Cappa (free agency) — to lead to lesser replacements creating problems for Brady and the run game. Brady showing signs of decline did not help matters for Leftwich, either.

But Leftwich and other Bruce Arians-hired staffers took the fall. Arians is not pleased with what happened last week, Stroud said during a WDAE Radio interview (via JoeBucsFan.com). The three-year Bucs HC, who gave the keys to Bowles in a surprising move last March, is “disappointed” and “hurt” his successor canned several of his staffers. Those assistants, some of whom having additional years on their contracts, had been told they would be there as long as Bowles was, per Stroud. Of course, NFL teams’ plans change rapidly. And an 8-9 season was not exactly where the Bucs thought they would be given their performances in 2020 and ’21. Bowles figures to enter the 2023 season on the hot seat. Arians spent the season as a senior advisor to Jason Licht, though he admitted late in the season he missed coaching.

As Bowles gathered his staff for a postmortem Thursday morning — prior to informing Leftwich and Co. they were being fired — he mentioned the team would have a difficult time signing free agents, per Stroud. The Bucs are nearly in Saints territory in terms of cap space, ranking ahead of only their restructure-happy rivals around the league. As of Wednesday, Tampa Bay sits $54MM-plus over the projected 2023 cap. The Bucs have been active in free agency over the past two years, mostly via re-signings. But the team had brought back a number of its top free agents — from Jensen to Carlton Davis in 2022 to Shaq Barrett, Lavonte David and Rob Gronkowski in 2021 — during Brady’s stay.

Following that meeting, Bowles called select assistants into his office to inform them of the dismissals. Despite the persistent run-game struggles, Bowles kept Arians hires Harold Goodwin (run-game coordinator) and Joe Gilbert (O-line coach). The team had discussions with Bill O’Brien as a Leftwich contingency plan last year, in the event the latter landed the Jacksonville HC job. O’Brien was Brady’s OC (or de facto OC, as the Patriots sometimes do not do coordinator titles) for three seasons, but he is now back with the Pats.

The Bucs have begun their OC search, with a few candidates surfacing Tuesday. While Leftwich’s ouster may influence Brady in free agency, the early word coming out of Tampa is the 45-year-old superstar will explore other options if he is to play a 24th season.

Ravens Request OC Interview With Vikings’ Brian Angelichio

The Ravens continue to cast a wide net in search of their new offensive play caller. In addition to considering Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson, Browns wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea, and Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales, Baltimore has requested to interview Vikings passing game coordinator and tight ends coach Brian Angelichio, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Angelichio has been a tight ends coach in the league since 2012 when he followed Greg Schiano from Rutgers to the Buccaneers. Since then, he’s had some bad luck finding head coaches who have stayed in their jobs long term, bouncing around to Cleveland, Green Bay, Washington, and Carolina before his most recent position in Minnesota. Angelichio joined the Vikings’ staff this year with first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell, who granted him the new added moniker of passing game coordinator.

Angelichio has a few notable coaching performances on his resume. In 2015, he coached veteran tight end Gary Barnidge to a career 1,043-yard season in which he caught nine touchdowns. He’s also coached some of the NFL’s best recent tight ends, overseeing Jimmy Graham with the Packers as well as Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis in Washington. With Angelichio as passing game coordinator, the Vikings ranked fifth in the NFL in passing yards gained and tied for fourth in the league in passing touchdowns this year.

Angelichio has now had his name added to the ever-growing list of candidates to become the Ravens’ new offensive coordinator, alongside Robinson, O’Shea, and Canales. Fowler added that there are a number of other names he’s hearing as potential candidates including former Colts head coach Frank Reich, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, and former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

In addition to the many outside candidates, the Ravens also have at least two in-house candidates in wide receivers coach Tee Martin and quarterbacks coach James Urban. Martin is a recent addition to the NFL coaching ranks, joining the Ravens in 2021 after years as a passing game coordinator and play caller for multiple Power 5 programs in college football. Urban has been with the team since 2018, coaching Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson since his rookie season. He’s never called plays, but he’s been in the NFL since 2004 and worked alongside Ravens head coach John Harbaugh for much of that time.

Baltimore is doing its due diligence with its search for a new offensive play caller. The team has doubled down on their intent to center the offense around Jackson, going as far as to allow him as much input into the coaching search as possible. Angelichio becomes one of many names for Jackson, Harbaugh, and company to consider.

Buccaneers To Fire OC Byron Leftwich

The Buccaneers are moving on from Byron Leftwich. The team’s offensive coordinator of the past four years will not return in 2023, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud.

In addition to Leftwich’s dismissal, Stroud points to other changes. As many as five offensive staffers and multiple defensive assistants will not be back next season. This follows a season in which the Bucs’ offense declined considerably after two strong years with Tom Brady. The changes came to pass after a Todd Bowles meeting with GM Jason Licht and Bucs ownership, per Stroud.

This news comes a year after Leftwich, 43, was on the HC carousel. The Jaguars interviewed their former quarterback twice in January 2022, but Leftwich removed his name from consideration for the job. Jacksonville ended up hiring Doug Pederson and is now in the divisional round. Leftwich’s fourth Bucs offense dropped from second in 2021 to 25th this season.

In December, a report emerged indicating Brady and Leftwich were not seeing eye-to-eye, and a recent report noted a Brady 2023 return could well be contingent on Leftwich’s dismissal. Many connected Brady to Bruce Arians‘ exit as well, though Arians has repeatedly denied he was forced out. While Brady’s Tampa future is up in the air, Bowles will search for his own offensive coordinator. Bowles’ seat warmed after the Bucs’ 8-9 finish and blowout loss to the Cowboys in the wild-card round, and he will tie his future to a handpicked OC.

A name to watch is Georgia OC Todd Monken, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). Monken has a history with the Bucs, having been on staff from 2016-18, and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter) he has generated interest from teams.

The Bucs moved on from Monken upon firing Dirk Koetter after the 2018 season, leading Monken to Cleveland and the Arians-Leftwich tandem to Tampa. Monken has been Georgia’s OC since 2020, and his tenure has overlapped with the greatest stretch in the program’s history. The Bulldogs have won back-to-back national championships, the most recent being cemented via a 65-7 rout of TCU. Monken’s 2018 Bucs season also included Ryan Fitzpatrick posting a 9.6 yards-per-attempt figure, which still ranks in the top 10 all time.

Leftwich earned a second chance as an OC following a dismal 2018, which featured the Cardinals’ first post-Arians season end with a 3-13 record and the team ranking last offensively. Arians, who had retired following the 2017 slate, brought Leftwich to Tampa and installed him as the Bucs’ play-caller. Jameis Winston‘s historically high-variance 2019 season gave way to Brady in 2020. After a rocky start, the legendary QB drove the Bucs to a top-three ranking on offense that year. Leftwich collected a Super Bowl ring that season, and Brady led the NFL in touchdown passes and passing yards in 2021. Tampa Bay’s final Winston-led offense also ranked in the top seven in both points and yards, which should reflect well on Leftwich. But this season brought an undeniable blow to his value.

The Bucs ranked last across the board in rushing this season, despite the team re-signing Leonard Fournette on a three-year deal worth $21MM. Offensive line issues plagued the team, and Brady’s QBR fell from second in 2021 to 18th in 2022. The Bucs’ 198 fewer points from 2021-22 doubles as the second-steepest decline in NFL history, behind only the Falcons’ freefall from 1973-74 (h/t Fox Sports’ Greg Auman). Although Brady threw for 351 yards in Tampa Bay’s woeful wild-card performance, he struggled throughout and did not confirm anything about his 2023 plans postgame. The 45-year-old passer has been connected to retiring again, playing for the Bucs in 2023 or playing elsewhere. More Brady-dominated news cycles are coming, but Leftwich will be on the lookout for his next gig by that point.

Leftwich’s Winston offense outperforming Monken’s Winston work should work in the former’s favor, though some of Winston and Brady’s Tampa production will undoubtedly be attributed to Arians. Leftwich, a former Jags top-10 pick, entered coaching in 2016 as an Arians intern but rose to the OC level by 2018, when the Cardinals fired Mike McCoy in-season.

Tom Brady Could Return To Buccaneers In 2023

Recent reports have indicated that quarterback Tom Brady will not return to the Bucs in 2023, but Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times says that is not necessarily the case. Assuming Brady wants to continue his playing career, a fourth year in Tampa should not be ruled out.

After all, the future Hall-of-Famer continues to enjoy a strong relationship with team ownership and with GM Jason Licht, and the team has proven throughout Brady’s tenure that it will do whatever it takes to build a contender around him, even if its maneuvers create future salary cap headaches. Plus, the fact that the Bucs clinched the NFC South and qualified for the postseason could encourage Brady to return (although the weakness of the division obviously played a major role in the team’s playoff berth).

Stroud does note that Brady’s preference would be to play for Sean Payton, the former Saints head coach who is presently working as a FOX analyst but who appears ready to return to the sidelines in 2023. At present, only the Broncos have obtained permission to interview Payton, and Denver would be unable to add Brady due to its commitment to Russell Wilson. Of course, Payton and Brady appeared ready to join forces on the Dolphins in 2022, though it is now unclear whether Miami would be willing to make current HC Mike McDaniel a one-and-done just to facilitate a brief Brady-Payton partnership.

Payton could elect to return to the Saints, and New Orleans boasts enough offensive talent to entice Brady to join him there. However, as Stroud notes in a separate piece, joining the Bucs’ division rival would be difficult for Tampa Bay ownership to stomach, and Brady may not want to “stick it” to the Glazers in that way.

Brady will likely have suitors that are interested in only him and not in Payton. The 49ers, Raiders, and Jets could all be in play, and none of those teams appear as if they will be parting with their current head coaches (plus, if Brady elects to sign with Las Vegas, he would be reuniting with longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, which could appeal to him). The upshot here is that all options, including a new deal with the Bucs, remain on the table.

On a related note, it seems that a Brady return to Tampa would lead to a dismissal of OC Byron Leftwich, especially in light of the reported friction between the two men. If that happens, then Stroud expects current Alabama offensive coordinator and former Texans head coach Bill O’Brien — who was on the Patriots’ staff for five of Brady’s years in Foxborough — to be in the mix as a possible replacement. Indeed, O’Brien and Licht have a close relationship, and the Bucs were interested in O’Brien’s services last year, when it appeared as if Leftwich would leave Tampa to become the Jaguars’ head coach.

The Patriots are also said to be interested in a reunion with O’Brien.

Bruce Arians Discusses Coaching Future

Bruce Arians moved from the sideline to the front office this past offseason, with the 70-year-old now serving as the Buccaneers’ senior advisor to general manager Jason Licht. While Arians sounds appreciative of his current gig, he recently made it clear that he’d jump at the opportunity to return to coaching.

“Would I love to be coaching? Yeah,” Arians told Rick Stroud of TampaBay.com. “It’s what you do. It kills me to go upstairs. I’m on the sideline in pregame and it kills me to have to go upstairs and just sit there. It kills me. It’s hard. It’s what I do. I’ve done it my whole life. I’m smart enough to know it’s over.

“It’s not the same. That daily interaction with the players and the coaches, the relationship I’m in. I sat and talked to Mike (Evans) and Vita (Vea) for an hour. The new guys are told, ‘That’s the old coach. You don’t want him cussing you out.’ I just (cussed out) a couple of them for the hell of it.”

Arians’ tenure in Tampa Bay spanned three years, including a 31-18 record and the franchise’s second Super Bowl title. He seemed prepared for a fourth season at the helm but plans changed with the uncertainty surrounding Tom Brady‘s future. Working under the impression that his franchise QB was going to hang up his cleats, Arians weighed the possibility of an unproven QB room against his desire to see defensive coordinator Todd Bowles succeed him.

By ultimately stepping aside, Arians allowed the organization to retain both Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, with the now-former head coach continually asserting that he wanted to set up the Buccaneers organization with a solid succession plan. Still, despite Arians willingly giving up his gig, it sounds like he would have stuck around had he had more clarity on Tampa Bay’s outlook for the 2022-23 season.

Tom Brady Unlikely To Play For Bucs In 2023

Although Tom Brady has taken steps back this season, the prospect of the unretired superstar again postponing retirement and playing in 2023 is on the table. It is not expected a Brady age-46 season would transpire in Tampa.

It is “widely assumed” around the NFL Brady’s Tampa Bay stay is winding down, Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post notes, and SI.com’s Albert Breer adds it is likely the 23rd-year veteran retires or plays for another team in 2023. The Bucs did not consider trading Brady’s rights during his short retirement, but via the 2021 extension he signed, Brady is set to be a free agent in March.

Brady agreed to a 2022 restructure, helping the Bucs’ cap situation but preventing them from using their franchise tag on him next year. If the Bucs fail to extend Brady before his contract expires in March, they would carry a $35.1MM dead-money hit in 2023.

Signing a quarterback ahead of his age-43 season in 2020, the Bucs were not exactly preparing to play the long game here. The Brady signing helped produce the franchise’s second Super Bowl championship, and he led the league in passing yards last season. While this year has brought a stream of Brady headlines and reduced production, the Bucs going QB shopping — as they did briefly this year — in 2023 would still bring a major change for the franchise.

Brady, 45, both retired and unretired between the Bucs’ divisional-round loss and free agency. He was then the centerpiece of another team losing a first-round pick, with the Dolphins’ pursuit of a Brady-Sean Payton package leading to the loss of two draft choices. Brady agreed to a massive FOX deal to be their lead analyst when he retires, made a strange mid-training camp exit and was recently part of the most public divorce in NFL history. All the while, Bruce Arians stepped down shortly after Brady agreed to return to the team.

This avalanche of headlines preceded what has been a disappointing Bucs season. Tampa Bay (6-7) still leads the NFC South, but this is one of the worst divisions in NFL history. Brady’s QBR (51.0) ranks 23rd — a steep decline from his second-place finish (73.1) in 2021 — and La Canfora adds friction between he and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich exists. Philosophical differences between Brady and Leftwich have dated back to last season, JLC notes. Leftwich has been the Bucs’ play-caller throughout Brady’s tenure, though Arians obviously held considerable influence during his time on the sidelines.

This is certainly interesting, considering the reported Brady-Arians rift was connected to the latter’s decision to step away (though, Arians has denied this consistently). But the post-Arians Bucs have struggled consistently on offense; they have dropped from second to 28th in scoring from 2021 to this season. Were it not for Brady-led comebacks that downed the Rams and Saints, the team would be 4-9.

Brady long hoped to play until 45, but he has recently kept the door open to venturing further into uncharted (non-kicker division) waters. If the Bucs are drifting out of the picture for a Brady age-46 season, some teams previously connected to the legendary passer may be back in the mix soon. The 49ers, who have just seen Jimmy Garoppolo go down with another major injury, are again being tied to the Bay Area native, and La Canfora mentions the Raiders and Dolphins as other teams who could consider Brady. Brady was connected to the 49ers in 2020 and, briefly, this year, while it has been reported Brady’s reference to “that mother——“ (regarding his 2020 free agency) meant Derek Carr. Brady-to-Miami happening after this year’s penalties would cause quite the firestorm. When asked Sunday if the Bucs-49ers game would be his last time playing in the Bay Area, Brady responded (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Silver) “I don’t know; I don’t know.”

Rob Gronkowski said Brady calling it quits and joining him at FOX “may be the best option.” Brady agreed to a 10-year, $375MM deal with the network this offseason. Considering how driven the seven-time Super Bowl champion has been in extending his career, it would surprise if he does not consider his options in free agency. But he does have a lucrative fallback option.

That may be the best option,” Gronkowski told USA Today’s Mackenzie Salmon (via Bucs Wire). “He’s definitely, you know, he’s a free agent. He can weigh out every option, whatever team he wants to play for, or if he wants to go in that booth and come join me, and we can be, you know, the tag team champions in the world.”

Buccaneers Not Looking To Make Any Moves Before Trade Deadline

Despite being in the midst of a three-game skid, and losing five of their last six games, the Buccaneers are not expected to make any big moves to acquire players before the trade deadline, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. General manager Jason Licht has been known to be willing to make moves that could improve the team’s standing for a playoff run, but, right now, the team seems to be fine with where they’re at.

The Buccaneers don’t seem to have a ton of holes in their roster. They haven’t been very successful running the ball, ranking 31st in the NFL for rushing yards. They likely don’t feel the need to trade for a big name running back. Despite veteran pass-catching back Giovani Bernard spending the last six games on injured reserve, Tampa Bay still has Leonard Fournette. The team has also spent two third-round picks in the last three drafts on Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Rachaad White.

A more likely reason for their rushing struggles is the offensive line losses they’ve dealt with this year. The retirement of last year’s starting guard Ali Marpet, the loss of their other starting guard, Alex Cappa, to free agency, and the long-term injury suffered by starting center Ryan Jensen have forced the Buccaneers to piece together a new configuration. Last year’s Buccaneers weren’t one of the league’s better rushing offenses and, with these setbacks, they’ve turned into one of the league’s worst.

Fans may also be looking for the team to make a move on defense, where the team ranks last in the league in rushing yards allowed. The Buccaneers don’t necessarily think a change in personnel is in order from an outside source, as they have several players who have missed time due to injury set to make comebacks soon. Tampa Bay hopes to get defensive lineman Akiem Hicks back soon, which should be a huge help. They’re also looking for cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting to make returns soon. Unfortunately, the loss of outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett hurts the defense’s chances for improvement a bit.

If any changes were to be made, it’s looking more and more likely that it will come on the coaching end and not on the players’ end, according to Armando Salguero of OutKick.com. With an offense that has been deemed as “under-performing” there is speculation that the team could have retired head coach and current consultant Bruce Arians or offensive consultant Tom Moore pair up with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich to bring the offense back up to par.

Currently, head coach Todd Bowles says the coaching staff and their duties will remain intact, but, if the team continues to flail in what could easily be the last season for quarterback Tom Brady, look for the team to get creative with their use of the coaching staff.

Panthers’ Post-Rhule Fallout: Termination, Replacement, Trades

The NFL news circuit was set ablaze today when news broke of the firings of Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow. The termination of Rhule was not necessarily a surprise, as he’s been firmly on the hot seat all year and the possibility of firing Rhule had been discussed “well before” today, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, but it did create a newsworthy fallout of information that is of interest to those who follow the sport.

Many have talked about the contract implications of Rhule’s termination, alluding to the millions of dollars still remaining on his contract. While it’s completely applicable to Rhule’s situation, it doesn’t sound like it is a concern to Carolina. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweeted out that “Carolina is on the hook for this season, but the salaries for the ensuing seasons are offset by what his future college job pays him.” Essentially, Rhule will absolutely get his guaranteed money, but the onus won’t be on Carolina to pay it. Whenever Rhule, who is presumed to be a top college coaching candidate for next year, gets another job, his salary from the new school will offset the amount the Panthers owe him.

It was also announced that Panthers defensive passing game coordinator & secondary coach Steve Wilks will sub in as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The defensive-minded former head coach of the Cardinals has apparently already begun to make the team his own. When Panthers owner David Tepper was asked why Snow was fired, he reportedly pointed the finger at Wilks, telling reporters to direct that question to the interim head coach, according to ESPN’s David Newton.

Here are a few more fallout items from today, starting with some ideas on Rhule’s replacement:

  • The biggest nugget to come out of today concerning Carolina is that, as most NFL executives expected Rhule to lose his job, many in league circles are expecting the Panthers to start dealing veteran assets in an attempt to accrue draft capital that might make the head coaching position more attractive, according to Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post. The Panthers currently only hold four draft picks for 2023: first-, second-, fourth-, and fifth-round picks, supporting the idea that trading away veterans could improve their current situation. Trading away veterans with expensive contracts, such as star running back Christian McCaffrey or wide receiver Robbie Anderson, could prove troublesome, according to La Canfora, so the Panthers are reportedly willing to eat some of those salaries in order to facilitate moving those assets. Early reports claimed that the Bills have reached out about McCaffrey and that they did in the offseason, as well, according to Person, but Tom Pelissero of NFL Network clarified that, while every team will be calling about McCaffrey, the Panthers haven’t engaged in any trade talks yet. In addition to McCaffrey and Anderson, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports expects wide receiver D.J. Moore, defensive end Brian Burns, and defensive tackle Derrick Brown to be on the table.
  • Jeff Howe of The Athletic posed the question today of who might replace Rhule and offered quite a few suggestions. Howe started the list with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn who took the Falcons to the Super Bowl as head coach in 2016. Next, he mentioned 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Ryans interviewed for the Vikings’ job this offseason and was expected to interview for the Raiders’, as well. The 38-year-old has rocketed up coaching boards since retiring as a player in 2015. Another name mentioned was Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon who also interviewed for the Vikings last year, in addition to the Texans and Broncos. Howe went into great detail on every candidate, seeming to list anybody who may be up for a head coaching job in the next few seasons. His list included former NFL head coaches including the retired Sean Payton, Steelers senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach Brian Flores, Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, and former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, as well as the current interim head coach, Wilks. Other serious candidates Howe mentioned were Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, and Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. The list essentially devolved into an article about anybody who may make the jump to NFL head coach in the next few seasons, pointing out “wait and see” candidates such as Rams offensive coordinator Liam Coen, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell, and Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.
  • One interesting name that came out of today’s rumors was former Panthers All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly. Joe Person of The Athletic advised that an eye be kept on Kuechly, who remains close with Wilks and new defensive coordinator Al Holcomb, to come back in some capacity. After retiring from a pro scout position last year, Kuechly has been working as an analyst on Panthers radio broadcasts.