Jerod Mayo

Patriots Coach Jerod Mayo Discusses New Role With Organization

Jerod Mayo surprised many this offseason when he declined a head coaching interview with the Panthers and instead re-signed with the Patriots. After having served as the official linebackers coach (and the unofficial co-defensive coordinator) over the past few years, many assumed Mayo would move on to a bigger role. Mayo have have received that desired promotion in New England, but in natural Patriots fashion, the coach refused to discuss his new responsibilities.

“I would say I’m confident that I will grow here. Where that leads, I’m not sure. Hopefully I’m here for the foreseeable future, but we’ll just have to see,” Mayo said during his press conference today (h/t Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald). “I am confident in the plan they put together as far as my development is concerned. There’s still a lot that I don’t know and I’m very aware of that.”

Mayo became a popular name on the head coaching circuit after guiding New England’s defense alongside Steve Belichick. After he ultimately decided to stick with the Patriots, many believed that Bill Belichick was now preparing his former player to eventually take over as head coach, and Callahan notes that “other members of the organization expect” Mayo to eventually take the reigns. Owner Robert Kraft didn’t do anything to silence that sentiment, previously noting that Mayo doesn’t have a ceiling on his coaching career and insinuating that the former linebacker would eventually be an NFL head coach.

For the time being, Mayo is focused on the Patriots defense, but we have gotten some hints about his added responsibilities. The coach was reportedly included in interviews with offensive coordinator candidates earlier this offseason, and as Callahan notes, Mayo has worked with “scouts, salary cap managers and team researchers” as he prepares for a future promotion.

“I’m excited. I’m excited to continue to grow,” Mayo said. “I’m excited to continue to learn new things, not only X’s and O’s. That’s only a small part of it. I’m just excited, and honestly, I’m just trying to be a sponge and learn as much as I can when I’m in those meetings that I’m not normally in.”

So would Mayo consider leaving New England if an attractive head coaching opportunity opened elsewhere? There’s always the possibility, but it doesn’t sound like he’s in any rush to leave the Patriots organization.

“It would take a lot for me to leave,” Mayo said. “This is where I want to be, and I feel the same way from the coaching staff and also from the Kraft family.”

Patriots Notes: QBs, Mayo, Patricia, JuJu

Mac Jones struggled mightily during his second season in the NFL. After earning a Pro Bowl nod and guiding the Patriots to a 10-7 record as a rookie, Jones went 6-8 while tossing 14 touchdowns vs. 11 interceptions in 2022. Rookie fourth-round pick Bailey Zappe started a pair of games while filling in for an injured Jones last season, winning both of his starts while tossing three touchdowns vs. one pick in those two games.

Jones’ 2022 struggles can easily be attributed to the loss of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (and replacing the OC with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge), and when you consider New England’s first-round investment in Jones, it’s easy to assume that he’ll retain his starting gig heading into the 2023 campaign. However, coach Bill Belichick refused to give Jones a vote of confidence following the 2022 season, leading some to wonder if the Patriots could have a QB competition heading into next year.

In typical Belichick fashion, the head coach didn’t provide too much insight into the QB situation while speaking to reporters today, noting that “everyone will get a chance to play” and the Patriots will opt for “the best player.”

“If they earn an opportunity to play based on what they do in practice and all that, then they’ll get an opportunity to play,” Belichick said (via Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald). “Certainly the veteran players that have been on the team before, if they’re still on the team, they’ll all get an opportunity to play.”

It’s not a huge surprise to see Belichick playing coy, but as Callahan notes, Belichick definitively stated that Tom Brady and Cam Newton were the starting QBs throughout their respective tenures with the Patriots. Now, Jones certainly doesn’t have the resume of either of his predecessors, but it’s certainly interesting that Belichick continues to avoid answering questions about his quarterbacks depth chart.

While Belichick might not want to publicly support Jones, the QB has a fan in Robert Kraft.

I’m a big fan of Mac,” the Patriots owner said (via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter). “We experimented with some things last year that didn’t work. We made changed to put him in position to excel.”

More notes out of New England…

  • When Jerod Mayo rejected head coaching interviews and decided to stick with the Patriots, it was assumed the organization promised him a larger role…with some wondering if Mayo may have the inside track on succeeding Belichick as head coach. Kraft somewhat acknowledged as much during an interview on NFL Network, saying he views Mayo as a potential heir apparent to Belichick (via’s Judy Battista on Twitter). Kraft also told NFL Network that he doesn’t see a ceiling on Mayo’s coaching career. Following an eight-year playing career with the Patriots, Mayo joined New England’s coaching staff as linebackers coach in 2019. Recently, he’s served as the unofficial defensive coordinator alongside Steve Belichick.
  • Patricia earned plenty of criticism last season while serving as the team’s de facto offensive coordinator. The Patriots have since brought in Bill O’Brien to guide their offense, but there hasn’t been a reported resolution on Patricia’s status with the organization. Naturally, Belichick didn’t provide many additional details on the situation, telling reporters that he’s unsure if Patricia will be coaching for the Patriots in 2023 (via AtoZSports’ Doug Kyed on Twitter). After serving as the Patriots defensive coordinator for six years, Patricia returned to the organization in 2021 following a three-year stint as the Lions head coach.
  • New Patriots receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has incentives in his contract tied to receiving yards, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss (on Twitter). In 2023, the wideout can earn $750K if he hits 950 yards and he can earn another $750K at 1,100 yards. In 2024 and 2025, Smith-Schuster can earn $1MM for 800 yards, $1MM for 950 yards, and another $1MM for 1,100 yards.
  • James Robinson‘s new contract with the Patriots contains no guaranteed money, per Kyed (on Twitter). He’ll earn a $150K roster bonus if he sticks on the 2023 roster, plus $160K via a workout bonus and up to $680K in per-game roster bonuses.

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers, Broncos and Texans’ hires, this year’s vacancy count sits at two. Last year’s Saints and Buccaneers moves, however, showed these job openings can emerge at unexpected points.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 2-14-23 (1:30pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Coaching Notes: Colts, Rams, Patriots

The Colts are moving on to second interviews with some head coaching candidates, but they’re still hoping to get one individual in the building for a first interview. According to Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press, the Colts still want to speak with 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.

The Colts have been trying to nail down an interview with Ryans for a few weeks. The organization was expected to finally speak with him on Sunday, but with the 49ers advancing to the NFC Championship Game, the coach once again put his interview on hold.

The coordinator already spoke with the Texans and Broncos about their HC jobs, and he also postponed an interview with the Cardinals. As Maaddi details, NFL rules allow Ryans to have second interviews with the Texans and Broncos next week, regardless of the outcome of this weekend’s game. However, the NFL’s “window for first interviews” has close, so he’ll have to wait until the end of the 49ers’ season to speak with the Colts and Cardinals.

We heard earlier today that Ejiro Evero will be getting a second interview with the Colts, and per Maaddi, the organization is expected to advance “six or seven other candidates” to the second round. Another name that should get a second meeting with the organization is interim head coach Jeff Saturday, according to Maaddi.

More coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Sean McVay continues to shake up his coaching staff, and that’s led him to an assistant coach in Chicago. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter), the Rams have requested permission to interview Bears assistant offensive line coach Austin King. The former NFL player would presumably be eyeing a promotion in Los Angeles, and he could fill multiple roles considering his experience coaching tight ends with the Raiders.
  • Former Patriots lineman Adrian Klemm previously interviewed for New England’s offensive coordinator job, a position that ultimately went to Bill O’Brien. However, it sounds like the Patriots are still considering recruiting Klemm to their staff. According to TheMMQB’s Albert Breer (on Twitter), another meeting is anticipated between the coach and the Patriots. Klemm spent the 2022 season as Oregon’s associate head coach, run game coordinator, and offensive line coach. He previously spent time on the Steelers staff, serving as assistant OL coach before earning a promotion to OL coach in 2021.
  • With O’Brien back in New England, focus turns to the status of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge after the duo led the Patriots‘ offense in 2022. ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes that Patricia should be able to carve out a role on New England’s staff in 2023 considering his familiarity with the organization and his relationship with Bill Belichick. However, since the Lions are no longer picking up the tab, it remains to be seen if the Patriots will be willing to compensate the coach accordingly. Meanwhile, Reiss could see see Judge sticking around New England, but the writer is skeptical about the coach returning to his natural ST role. Judge officially spent last season as the Patriots quarterbacks coach, a designation that “surprised people both inside and outside the organization,” according to Mike Florio of
  • There’s still no clarity on what Jerod Mayo‘s new role will be in New England, but he could be facing a significant promotion. Some pundits have suggested that Belichick could be preparing the former linebacker to eventually take over as head coach, and Breer tweets that Mayo was alongside his boss for all of the organization’s offensive coordinator interviews last week.

Patriots’ Jerod Mayo Declines Panthers HC Interview

We can cross one candidate off the list of Panthers head coaching options. According to CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones (via Twitter), Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo will not be interviewing for the job. Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston was first with the news (on Twitter).

A few days after we learned that the Panthers had requested an interview with Mayo, the Patriots revealed that they were working on a new contract with the coach that would keep him in New England for the foreseeable future. Mayo later backed out of his defensive coordinator interview with the Browns, a development that wasn’t particularly surprising since Mayo effectively has the same role in New England. However, it’s telling that Mayo is also rejecting head coaching opportunities, an indication that he could emerge from the Patriots negotiations with a new job title.

Elsewhere on the OC front, the Panthers have scheduled an interview with Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson for Wednesday (via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero on Twitter). However, there are some question marks surrounding the interview status of 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. We heard yesterday that an interview still hadn’t been scheduled due to logistical reasons, and while the organization still hopes to interview the coach, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets that an interview may not happen depending on the length of the 49ers’ playoff run and the progress of the Panthers’ coaching search. Person adds that the organization still needs to conduct an in-person interview with another minority candidate to comply with the Rooney rule.

With Mayo off the board (and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh no longer on the radar), the current list of candidates includes:

Panthers Request HC Interviews With Jerod Mayo, DeMeco Ryans

JANUARY 13: The Panthers will not, at least for now, be meeting with Ryans. Schefter’s colleague David Newton reports that (for logistical reasons) an interview between Carolina’s front office and the highly sought-after DC could not be scheduled (Twitter link). As a result, the Panthers’ list of candidates now essentially sits at nine, though, as Newton notes, a future interview is not out of the question.

JANUARY 12, 12:41pm: DeMeco Ryans is also on the Panthers’ radar, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. This expands Carolina’s search to nine names, which blows away the volume from their 2020 interview process. Ryans’ inclusion is not surprising, given what San Francisco’s defense accomplished this season.

Ranking first in total defense, points allowed and DVOA, the 49ers have ridden Ryans’ unit to a 10-game win streak. In his second year as San Francisco’s DC, Ryans has been on Kyle Shanahan‘s staff throughout the latter’s time in the Bay Area. Long viewed as a future HC, Ryans, 38, has received multiple promotions with the 49ers. The former Texans and Eagles linebacker — who also received requests from the Broncos and Texans — has been ticketed for a 2023 HC job, and although there are fewer openings compared to 2022, Ryans may have multiple options. Candidates on teams playing this weekend must wait until midway through next week to interview for HC jobs.

JANUARY 12, 12:24pm: Panthers GM Scott Fitterer said the team was not planning an expansive HC search, but eight coaches are now part of this search. The Panthers added to the list by requesting a Jerod Mayo interview Thursday, Adam Schefter of tweets.

A former Patriots linebacker, Mayo has been on the HC radar for a bit now. He interviewed with the Broncos and Raiders last year, impressing in those settings. Mayo also interviewed for the Eagles job in 2021; he is the latest in a long line of Bill Belichick assistants to land on the HC carousel.

Mayo, 36, has been on Belichick’s staff since 2019. The former first-round pick currently serves as New England’s inside linebackers coach, but he has been a key defensive staffer for a bit now. Brian Flores following Matt Patricia out the door in 2019, after the latter’s 2018 Detroit hire, left the Pats thin on proven defensive staffers. Mayo has helped fill the void, as Patricia’s return has not been as a primary defensive staffer. He worked as the team’s main offensive play-caller this season, leaving Mayo and others as Belichick lieutenants on defense.

The Browns requested a defensive coordinator interview with Mayo as well, but this Panthers summons may take precedence. Four Belichick DCs or DC equivalents — Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Patricia, Flores — have gone on to earn HC opportunities. While Mayo does not have the title that traditionally leads to HC chances, the Patriots showed this year coordinator titles matter little in their grand scheme. The Pats have not had an official DC since Patricia in 2017.

Only four coaches interviewed for the Panthers’ position in 2020, a search that ended with Matt Rhule’s seven-year contract. Mayo is only the second defensive staffer, joining interim HC Steve Wilks, to land on the radar in this Carolina search. Here is how Carolina’s HC search looks as of Thursday, via PFR’s HC search tracker:

Browns Request DC Interviews With Brian Flores, Jim Schwartz, Jerod Mayo, Sean Desai

JANUARY 13: Mayo will pass on an interview with the Browns, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston tweets. This comes after the Panthers requested a head coaching interview with the young assistant and the Patriots making the rare move to announce they are negotiating an extension. The Pats clearly view Mayo as a key part of their future. As such, he is standing down regarding the Browns’ interest.

JANUARY 10: Albert Breer of TheMMQB tweeted out the upcoming schedule for Browns DC interviews. Jim Schwartz is set to interview with the organization on Wednesday, while Brian Flores will be in the building on Thursday. The team is still working out interview times with Jerod Mayo and Sean Desai.

JANUARY 9: The Browns are starting early on their defensive coordinator search. Hours after firing three-year defensive play-caller Joe Woods, the team is eyeing three assistants and former HC Jim Schwartz for the position.

Cleveland sent out an interview request for Schwartz, Albert Breer of tweets, and the parties are scheduling a meeting. Schwartz spent this season out of football. Among other staffers to receive requests,’s Adam Schefter and’s Ian Rapoport add that Steelers linebackers coach Brian Flores, Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo and Seahawks associate HC Sean Desai have each received interview summons (all Twitter links).

Surprisingly fired by the Dolphins after leading a turnaround during the team’s aggressive rebuild effort, Flores interviewed for four HC jobs last year. Amid a discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and several teams, Flores was not hired and ended up in Pittsburgh as a Mike Tomlin lieutenant on defense. Even with Flores’ lawsuit still proceeding, it is unsurprising he has received early attention. It will be interesting if Flores, 41, ends up on the HC interview circuit; that will impede an early Browns commitment. Prior to his Dolphins tenure, Flores vaulted onto the HC radar after being Bill Belichick‘s de facto DC — a season that ended with the Patriots becoming the second team in Super Bowl history to hold an opponent (the Rams) without a touchdown.

Mayo, 36, has also met with teams about their HC vacancies in the recent past; the Broncos and Raiders interviewed him last year. Mayo reaffirmed recently a desire to become a head coach. While that is not exactly surprising, the Browns are interested to see if he move up a rung on the ladder in order to eventually move to the top of it. A former Patriots linebacker, Mayo has been on Belichick’s staff since 2019.

Desai, 39, spent a season (2021) as the Bears’ DC, but with Matt Nagy‘s staff being canned after last season, the Vic Fangio disciple ended up in Seattle under fellow ex-Fangio staffer Clint Hurtt. Desai spent nine seasons in Chicago, serving as a position coach under Marc Trestman and John Fox before working under Nagy.

Schwartz already showing interest in the Browns mark the beginnings of a potential homecoming for the veteran defensive leader. Schwartz started his NFL career on Belichick’s Browns staff in the early 1990s. The Ravens kept him on after firing Belichick in 1996, and Schwartz has since been a defensive coordinator for three teams — the Titans, Bills and Eagles — and spent the past two seasons as a Titans assistant. The former Lions HC, now 56, has 19 years of NFL HC or DC experience and collected a Super Bowl ring as Philly’s DC in 2017. Schwartz’s time in Philly overlapped with Browns GM Andrew Berry‘s stay with the NFC East team.

Patriots Negotiating New Contract With Jerod Mayo, Will Start OC Interviews Next Week

The Patriots are officially looking to shake up their offensive coaching staff, but they’re also hoping to retain a key defensive coach. The organization announced in a press release that they’ve begun contract negotiations with coach Jerod Mayo “that would keep him with the team long-term” (via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe on Twitter). The team also announced that they will begin interviewing offensive coordinator candidates next week.

While Mayo has served as New England’s de facto defensive coordinator (alongside Steve Belichick), his title has officially been “inside linebackers coach.” As a result, Mayo wasn’t only allowed to interview for head coaching gigs, but also defensive coordinator opportunities, and it seemed all but certain that his stint in New England was likely going to come to an end as he pursued a more significant title. The Browns previously requested a DC interview with Mayo, and we learned earlier today that the Panthers planned to interview him for their head coaching vacancy. As Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets, the Patriots don’t want to lose him for “anything short of a head coaching job.”

The former Patriots linebacker has had a quick accession through New England’s coaching ranks, culminating in his current role. It sounds like the Patriots are committed to keeping the Mayo/Belichick duo for as long as possible, and it will be interesting to see what title Mayo emerges with (assuming he sticks in New England).

With Josh McDaniels leaving for Las Vegas, the Patriots used a similar philosophy with their offensive coaching staff, relying on two individuals instead of one definitive offensive coordinator. The issue was that head coach Bill Belichick turned to former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and former special teams coordinator Joe Judge to run the offense. The results were disastrous, with QB Mac Jones taking a clear step back during his second year in the league. Naturally, this has led to plenty of speculation that the Patriots could look to shake up the staff, and the organization has now made it clear that they’ll be interviewing for a new OC.

Some names have already been floated as possibilities. Bill O’Brien, who worked his way up to offensive coordinator in five years with the Patriots, could be a candidate. The coach has spent the past two years as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, and there were theories that O’Brien didn’t return to New England last offseason because Belichick didn’t want to compromise his relationship with Nick Saban. With O’Brien’s contract having expired, he’s now free to sign anywhere. Kliff Kingsbury is another candidate following his firing in Arizona. The former NFL QB was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2003 draft. As Albert Breer of tweets, the Patriots will have to follow the Rooney Rule if they intend to give someone the title of offensive coordinator.

Either way, this is some “unprecedented” transparency by the Patriots organization (as Volin notes on Twitter), with Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports tweeting that the organization is clearly “being very intentional about getting the word out.” This follows rampant speculation that Robert Kraft has requested coaching changes, and the owner reportedly met with his head coach earlier this week. Indeed, Howe tweets that Kraft and Belichick “have been aligned in their vision for a new offensive plan” next season.

Patriots Notes: Belichick, Patricia, Mayo

The Patriots’ offense has had a difficult time of it in the 2022 season. While the unit ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of points per game, it has posted the seventh-fewest yards per game. More importantly, second-year quarterback Mac Jones has regressed after a promising rookie season, and Jones’ struggles, combined with the offense’s problems as a whole, have led to increased scrutiny of head coach Bill Belichick‘s offseason staffing decisions.

Of course, after longtime OC Josh McDaniels accepted the Raiders’ head coaching job, Belichick installed Matt Patricia and Joe Judge as the Pats’ top offensive coaches. Patricia has served as the offensive play-caller despite not having worked as an offensive coach since 2005, and Judge has operated as the club’s offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach, despite having no coaching experience whatsoever on that side of the ball.

The general ineffectiveness of Belichick’s former staffers, both of whom had flamed out as head coaches elsewhere, means that the end-of-year meeting between Belichick and owner Robert Kraft will be of particular importance, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic (subscription required). If Kraft — like many league evaluators that spoke to Howe — believes that a shakeup is in order, one wonders how Belichick will respond. Perhaps he will agree and will bring an experienced OC aboard in an effort to maximize Jones’ talents and inject more organization and variety into the offense (the team is already rumored to be interested in a reunion with Bill O’Brien).

But if Belichick does not agree and elects to give Patricia and/or Judge another opportunity in their current roles, then Kraft could have a difficult decision to make about Belichick himself in the near future. While it seems unfathomable that Belichick would not be given the opportunity to walk away on his terms, keeping his 2022 offensive staff intact in 2023 may put the spotlight more squarely on him, particularly if some of this year’s unforced errors — blown assignments, substitution mishaps, late play calls, etc. — should persist.

Now for more Patriots notes:

  • Albert Breer of agrees that identifying the team’s 2023 offensive play-caller will be at the top of Kraft’s offseason agenda, and he pegs Patricia’s chances of remaining in his current role at less than 50% (though he does believe that Patricia will remain on the Pats’ coaching staff in some capacity). Breer confirms that O’Brien will be in the mix, though the current Alabama OC could have other NFL opportunities outside of Foxborough.
  • Add Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald to the list of pundits who believe Belichick must make a change at offensive coordinator, lest he put his own job security in jeopardy. “Kraft has to make it clear that Belichick needs to come up with real solutions, as opposed to getting his friends on the cheap with their former teams still paying them,” Guregian writes (via Peter King of NBC Sports). “If Belichick isn’t willing to budge, then Kraft has to decide whether it’s worth it to keep the status quo, or move on from his sure-fire Hall of Fame head coach and clean house.”
  • While neither Patricia nor Judge will be interviewing for head coaching positions anytime soon, linebackers coach Jerod Mayo is a different story. Mayo, 36, interviewed for the Broncos’ and Raiders’ HC positions last year, and Mike Reiss of expects the two-time Pro Bowler to be busy again in the upcoming coaching cycle. Mayo, for his part, is prepared for the challenge, saying, “I think I’m ready to be a head coach in the league.”
  • New England suspended P Jake Bailey and CB Jack Jones on Friday. According to Reiss, the team believed that Bailey — who had been on IR since November 19 — was ready to return to game action, but Bailey apparently believed otherwise. Jones’ suspension, meanwhile, stems in part from his missed rehabilitation appointments, which also led to his being fined by the team. Jones played in only eight snaps in the Pats’ Week 14 victory over the Cardinals due to a knee injury, and he missed the next two contests before being placed on IR on December 31. The agents for both players have noted their objections to the suspensions, with Bailey’s agent indicating that he has filed a grievance. Reiss says that it is difficult to see Bailey playing for the team again, and since his suspension technically voids the guarantees in his contract, he and the Pats could find themselves embroiled in a financial battle in the coming weeks.
  • The Patriots signed cornerback Tae Hayes to their active roster at the end of December, and Reiss tweets that Hayes’ contract is actually a two-year pact. Hayes, who appeared in 24 defensive snaps in his New England debut on January 1, is now one of six CBs under contract for 2023.

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.