4 painful realities the Carolina Panthers must face in 2022 and beyond

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Scott Fitterer and David Tepper
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Scott Fitterer and David Tepper /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

Matt Rhule set the Carolina Panthers back years

The Matt Rhule era won’t be remembered fondly by fans. There were more excuses than wins throughout his disastrous three years as head coach, which was mercifully ended by team owner David Tepper following yet another poor start in 2022.

Recent revelations about Rhule’s decision-making and overall methods in the wake of his firing brought to light just what a shoddy operation the former Baylor man was running. One only has to look at the improved professionalism under interim Steve Wilks as another indictment of his time at the helm.

Passing on Justin Fields and not approving a daring trade-up for Justin Herbert in favor of veterans down on their luck under center was cataclysmic for the Panthers. Something that’s set the organization back years.

It wasn’t all bad. But most of it was and whether it’s Wilks or someone else, they face a huge job trying to get the Panthers into legitimate contention quickly with no salary-cap space and some major holes to fill.

Rhule will land on his feet with a top college job, one suspects. He’s also getting paid handsomely from Tepper, who gave him a seven-year, $62 million deal and the final say on personnel moves – his biggest error since purchasing the franchise from Jerry Richardson.

Planning for the future while making the most of the talent Carolina has right now is a fine line. Thankfully, Rhule’s complete control can no longer have a detrimental impact on team affairs.