The Carolina Panthers fired Matt Rhule the team announced Monday morning.
After three seasons as head coach, owner David Tepper, relieved Matt Rhule after a 37-15 loss on Sunday. In the wake of the move, Scott Wilks takes over as the interim head coach.
Signed to a seven-year $62 million contract in January 2020, Carolina played poorly in these three seasons. During his time at the helm, the Panthers failed to win more than six games in a season compiling records of 5-11, 5-12 and 1-4 before being dismissed.
The moves made in the offseason like signing Bradley Bozeman and Austin Corbett improved an abysmal offensive line. Drafting Ikem Ekwonu furthered this cause. Acquiring Baker Mayfield seemed like a step toward improvement at the QB position. But nothing panned out, as a result, the Panthers are a lowly 1-4.
With an overall record of 11-27, there are few, if any, highlights in those seasons. Carolina managed wins against the Arizona Cardinals in 2020 and 2021. This included the return of Cam Newton, which spawned the infamous “I’m back,” moment, but nothing else. The Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year $63 million contract. This failed from a money and play perspective as it seemed too much for a backup QB and the horrible record showed it was a mistake. Then Sam Darnold stepped in, and performed about the same, arguably worse considering the Panthers started 3-0 in 2021. Now, Mayfield at the helm put Carolina at 1-4.
Optimism surrounded the season as new moves showed that the team wanted to improve. The team wanted to break through, and if it didn’t mean a division crown, at least an improvement from a five-win season. Now, Rhule is gone, and this further muddies the water for Carolina in a tumultuous season.
As the season progresses Carolina just added another position it must fill during the offseason.
Now, the team must focus on a tough part of the schedule where the Rams, Buccaneers and Falcons are the next opponents. All the while without a plan for a head coach beyond this season. It will be interesting to see how the Panthers respond to this move, it could motivate the team, or severely hinder it.