Tuesday, January 7th, marked the 5th all-time head coaching hire by the Panthers organization. Matt Rhule was also the first college coach to be hired by the Panthers to make the leap to the professional level. This certainly was a historic hire for the Carolinas.
Many outside of the organization figured Rhule's hometown Giants would whisk him away to help with the development of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones and sophomore phenom Saquon Barkley. However, people underestimated the size of Tepper's wallet when the Panthers owner offered Rhule a 7 yr, $60 million deal, which he gladly accepted. This mega deal David Tepper and Rhule agreed on makes him the 6th highest paid coach in the NFL, behind only Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Jon Gruden, Sean Payton, and John Harbaugh (in that order).
This contract placed quite a bit of trust in Matt Rhule's hands, but it was well deserved! Matt Rhule first was an offensive line coach in 2012 which included a future Hall of Famer. From 2013-2016, he turned a Temple team that went 2-10 his first year to consistent 10 win seasons. After he was successful, he turned his sights on a Baylor football program that was scarred by a scandal involving the previous head coach Art Briles. His Baylor career went like this: 1-11, 7-6, and 11-3. When you turn around multiple not-so-well-known football programs, you're going to get NFL attention, and that's what he got in the next few years!
In 2018 , Rhule was expected to be hired by the New York Jets, a major win for the team at the time. However, it was soon revealed to the sports world that Rhule wanted the freedom to hire his own staff. This would soon lead to a disagreement, which would give way to the hiring of former Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, who went 7-9 his first year on the job, with injuries to key pieces (CJ Mosley, Le'Veon Bell, Sam Darnold) derailing their season.
Matt Rhule has shown through many years as a head coach that he can develop players at a high level, with players like Haason Reddick, Matthew Ioannidis, and Robby Anderson heading to the pros. With many players on the Panthers roster with potential, ( ie. Brian Burns, Curtis Samuel, DJ Moore, Ian Thomas, Greg Little, Dennis Daley, Christian Miller, Donte Jackson, Marquis Haynes, Will Grier, JC jr, Andre Smith) this Panthers team could be very special.
Welcome to the Rhule Era!