What comes next for Matt Rhule after Carolina Panthers firing?

(Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

What comes next for Matt Rhule after he was fired as head coach of the Carolina Panthers this week?

If Matt Rhule didn’t realize his fate long before it became reality, he should have. A disastrous run of results and no progression over the opening five weeks of 2022 left Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper with no alternative other than to remove his head coach just three years into a bumper deal that he’ll be paying out for some time yet.

Rhule built a tremendous reputation as a college program builder. Sadly for the former Baylor man, this did not translate to a professional environment with grown men who cannot be treated like teenagers.

The methods implemented by Rhule were flawed, to put it mildly. Tepper giving him the final say on personnel decisions was his first mistake, with failing to formulate a long-term strategy at the quarterback position something else behind his undoing.

All confidence had been lost from outside the organization long before Tepper pulled the plug. Whether Steve Wilks can turn it around remains to be seen, but this at least gives the fanbase a sense of hope that a winning culture can return in the not-too-distant future.

Matt Rhule could get college interest after Carolina Panthers’ dismissal

As for Rhule, it’s clear the NFL isn’t for him. He’s the latest in a long line of college coaches that failed to make the right adjustments in the pros, which might put other teams off from going in this particular direction as a result.

Despite his obvious failings in Carolina, all hope is not lost for Rhule. Plenty of intriguing college jobs are already available and this could increase at the end of the current campaign, so there are likely to be multiple offers heading his way to instantly get himself back into the mix.

For all of Rhule’s faults from a coaching standpoint at the next level, the players responded to him and fully believed in his capabilities right until the end. One only has to look at Robbie Anderson’s interview on Thursday to see how much he’s still respected.

College programs will also examine the job Rhule did at Temple and Baylor far more than the events that transpired in Carolina. Something that will ensure he isn’t out of work for long.

Rhule can also take his time before deciding on a new employment avenue. The Panthers are going to shell out a significant sum in the coming years to pay off his seven-year, $62 million deal, which was a major error by Tepper and one the billionaire won’t be making again.

Whether a power five conference team takes a swing at Rhule is debatable. The coach is already being linked to jobs in Wisconsin and Nebraska, with others also set to become available later this year as programs look for a complete reset.

The Panthers will be better off without Rhule. Maybe not in the short-term, but as part of the ongoing strategy providing the right appointment comes on board.

It’s hard to feel sorry for Rhule or any coach when one considers how much compensation they receive upon being dismissed. There’s little chance he gets an NFL gig again, but there should be college teams queueing around the block to secure his services.

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