The Panthers have made some progress filling their coaching staff, but the team still has a vacancy at special teams coordinator. There’s now at least one known candidate for the job, as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that the Panthers are interviewing Bills assistant special teams coach Cory Harkey for their coordinator job.
Following his five-year playing career, Harkey caught on as a tight ends coach in the college ranks. He earned his first NFL coaching job with the Bills in 2022, and he spent the past two seasons as their assistant special teams coordinator. Harkey clearly made an impression in his role, as he’ll now have an opportunity for the top ST job in Carolina.
While Harkey will interview for the job, he may not be the favorite. Joe Person of The Athletic passes along that Panthers head coach Dave Canales is targeting Seattle’s Tracy Smith as his special teams coordinator. Smith has had two lengthy stints working alongside Canales in Seattle, most recently as an assistant special teams coach. He also spent three years with the Texans organization, including a 2020 campaign where he served as the team’s ST coordinator. With Pete Carroll out in Seattle, Smith likely wouldn’t see any opposition if he decides to take his coaching acumen to the Panthers.
The Panthers are reportedly zeroing in on Buccaneers wide receivers coach Brad Idzik as their next offensive coordinator, and while that move hasn’t been made official, that hasn’t stopped the organization from looking to fill out the rest of the offensive coaching staff. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Panthers requested an interview with Cowboys quality control/offensive assistant Will Harriger for their quarterbacks coach job.
Harriger worked alongside Canales when the two were in Seattle, so there’s a clear connection. The coach recently worked with USC’s quarterbacks during the 2022 season, helping Caleb Williams win the Heisman Trophy. In Carolina, he’d be tasked with guiding former first-overall pick Bryce Young.
As Canales looks to fill his coaching staff, new general manager Dan Morgan is eyeing some reinforcement in the front office. Backing up what we heard last week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter passes along that the Panthers are expected to pursue Chiefs vice president of football operations Brandt Tilis for a “prominent” front office role. Albert Breer of SI.com passes along that Tilis’ office in Kansas City has already been cleared out, and the executive hasn’t traveled with the team during the postseason.
Tilis was a candidate for the Panthers GM job, and the long-time Chiefs executive was a popular name in recent hiring cycles. In Carolina, Tilis would be expected to play an essential cap/analytics role within the front office.
One executive who won’t be back in Carolina next season is Samir Suleiman. The team has moved on from the director of player negotiations/salary cap manager, per ESPN’s David Newton.