On Monday, The Carolina Panthers righted a three-year wrong and fired Matt Rhule as head coach. Look, I’m a Baylor University alum. Rhule took us from the gutter to the Sugar Bowl in just three years. Armed with this knowledge I said from the start not to hire him. It wasn’t that I was being selfish about my school’s fortunes. And it wasn’t that I harbored any ill will towards Rhule for leaving. I mean, we’re talking generational wealth here (more on that in a minute). Rather, history shows that “rah-rah” guys like Matt Rhule don’t cut it in the NFL. Really, only two coaches have EVER succeeded in both college and the NFL, Pete Carroll and Jimmy Johnson. Don’t bring up Barry Switzer’s name, either. He won with Jimmy Johnson’s players on the Dallas Cowboys. Honestly, my mother (who knows NOTHING of football) could have won with that team. So, when Rhule was shown the door on Monday, I got to have one of my favorite things: an “I told you so” moment.
NOW…back to that whole generational wealth thing. Rhule’s contract with the Carolina Panthers was for seven years and in the neighborhood of sixty-two million dollars. Technically, the team owes him some forty million. So, don’t shed any tears for him. The rent will be paid. That being said, it sure seems like a lot to be on the hook for when you’ve got to hire ANOTHER coach for next season, right? Well, NFL reporter Ian Rappaport has cleared this up a bit.
My understanding of the contract of former #Panthers coach Matt Rhule: 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. Rhule gets all $40M, but Panthers likely only pay this year of it.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 10, 2022
Aha! There’s the rub. I mentioned earlier how Rhule turned around my Baylor Bear program in less than 3 years. He did the same at Temple University before that. Major college reclamation projects are his jam. And if there’s one thing that I’m sure of it’s this: singers sing, players play, and coaches coach. It’s in their DNA to be on the practice field and on the sidelines. And it’s not like there will be a shortage of jobs like this available. Shoot, right now the head coaching positions at Nebraska and Wisconsin are both open. Each of these would be a perfect landing spot for Matt Rhule. And you can bet Panthers owner, David Tepper (and his wallet) is rooting for him.