Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper makes waves with big contract for first-time NFL coach.
As both the richest and newest NFL owner, David Tepper is focused on making the Carolina Panthers a perennial contender. While doing so may require some time, Tepper is gradually putting his own stamp on the franchise with his biggest moves to date coming this offseason.
Before the regular season ended, Tepper fired long-time coach Ron Rivera in an effort to get a jump start on the coaching search. After interim Perry Fewell concluded with an 0-4 record it became increasingly apparent that the new owner would look outside the current staff for a replacement.
Tepper found his man in former Baylor coach Matt Rhule. A collegiate guy with a propensity for turning around and changing the culture of each program he inherits. While his hiring puts Carolina squarely at a crossroads of if they are going to compete now or rebuild for potentially something better, it is the contract that apparently has upset other NFL owners.
“Tepper just drove the price of pork up, and I know the owners are pissed. They’re gonna hurt him at the next league meetings. They might just shut him out of the room.”
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Granted, no coach is going to speak for all 32 NFL owners but the likelihood this particular one had similar conversations with his specific owner is possible. Rhule’s seven-year, $60 million contract makes him one of the highest paid coaches in the league and his only previous NFL experience came as an assistant offensive line coach for the New York Giants back in 2012.
Tepper’s unorthodox style may be upsetting to the elders of a league that at times feels like a fraternity only open to a few exclusive individuals. Team’s repeatedly cycle through coaches already involved in some capacity and while giving someone from the outside an opportunity is a risk, it’s one Tepper is obviously willing to take.
Having made his fortune as a hedge fund manager, it’s safe to assume Tepper is more than comfortable taking a chance on Rhule and could care less what any of the other owners think.