It’s generated a significant amount of buzz, but what could happen when the Carolina Panthers meet Sean Payton about their head coaching vacancy?
After the Carolina Panthers postponed their initial meeting with Sean Payton as team owner David Tepper dealt with the tragedy surrounding Charlotte FC, their interview with the prospective head coach takes place on Monday. Discussions were been held with Ken Dorsey and Mike Kafka over the weekend, with just one remaining on their initial shortlist – Kellen Moore – before a final appointment is confirmed.
The Panthers could go back to DeMeco Ryans after logistics prevented an interview from unfolding before wildcard weekend. But considering Tepper’s reported desire for an offensive-minded head coach, they might decide to roll with someone they’ve spoken with already.
Carolina’s meeting with Payton has been a divisive subject among the fans. On one hand, the thought of a Super Bowl winner and offensive genius coming into the fold is intriguing, but there is the small matter of coughing up draft picks to an NFC South rival that’s leaving a sour taste in the mouth.
According to Ian Rappaport of the NFL Network, all teams speaking with Payton currently have agreed to the package required. So whatever the New Orleans Saints demanded from Carolina seems acceptable from Tepper’s perspective.
Again, this isn’t going to be universally well received if it becomes a reality. But that won’t stop Tepper from landing his big fish if he feels it can propel the Panthers back into the national spotlight.
Carolina Panthers and Sean Payton have lots to discuss
There seems to be an awful lot at stake when Payton and the Panthers meet on Monday. While the contractual demands will be easily met by the NFL’s second-richest owner, there are many other important factors to discuss.
Firstly, just how much roster control does Payton want? Tepper outlined his desire for a more collective approach after handing Matt Rhule the final say, so giving any new appointment similar perks could alter their final conclusion.
Then there is the complex situation at quarterback. Payton will have his own ideas on how to move Carolina forward, but they’ll need to match Tepper and general manager Scott Fitterer’s proposals when push comes to shove.
Payton also needs to be convinced this is a stable working environment. Tepper’s erratic, unpredictable management of team affairs could be perceived as dysfunction, so portraying calmness and stability is the best way to alter any previous notions.
Obviously, the compensation to the Saints will be another topic for debate. Payton might be wary of taking this job if he doesn’t have a first-round pick to work with this season, which could emerge as the biggest stumbling block of all.
What you’d give to be a fly on the wall when these juggernauts sit down to talk.
All fans can do is wait with bated breath for the outcome.
There is plenty of competition for Payton’s services – most notably the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals. These two teams could be better placed to immediately contend, although this is dependent on Russell Wilson bouncing back and Kyler Murray returning from a serious knee injury sooner than anticipated.
If Tepper gets a 100 percent commitment from Payton and he’s completely convinced, the billionaire could strike a deal immediately. However, given his previous rash move, another frank talk with other influential figures within the franchise is essential.
After months of wondering, we’re in the endgame now. What comes next will shape Carolina’s future and define Tepper’s legacy as owner.