When will the Carolina Panthers hire their next head coach?

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) David Tepper
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) David Tepper /

With all interviews now officially concluded, all eyes are on the Carolina Panthers as they finalize who will become their next head coach in 2023.

After the Carolina Panthers interviewed Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore for their vacant head coaching job on Tuesday, all reported shortlisted candidates have now held discussions with those in power. Something that means an formal appointment could be on the immediate horizon.

The Panthers cast their net far and wide despite general manager Scott Fitterer claiming the list would be short during his recent media availability. There’s been a strong focus on offensive minds throughout the process, with Steve Wilks also remaining under strong consideration after galvanizing the organization following Matt Rhule’s firing.

Only Ejiro Evero boasted true defensive credentials among the others interviewed. And there are no defense-first head coaches remaining in the NFL playoffs after Sean McDermott was ousted by the Cincinnati Bengals.

When will the Carolina Panthers hire their next head coach?

Nobody could say with any great confidence what David Tepper is thinking. There are many other influential figures within the organization part of the process, but the billionaire has the final say when it’s all said and done.

A situation could emerge where the Panthers add to the shortlist. DeMeco Ryans produced another play-calling masterclass for the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round, which might see Carolina make another advance after logistics prevented an interview from taking place before the wildcard stage.

The possibility of a second round of interviews cannot be ruled out, either. This process needs to be more methodical after Tepper swung big and missed with Rhule, who was never cut out to be an NFL head coach, and made the owner look foolish.

A mistake Tepper would be wise not to make again.

Sean Payton remains the unknown quantity after meeting with Carolina’s brass on Monday. However, the compensation will be substantial and something that could jeopardize their chances of gaining divisional supremacy over the New Orleans Saints.

With prominent assessment events such as the 2023 Senior Bowl upcoming, it might not be much longer before Carolina finds its guy. If they decide on Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, it could be longer.

The forgotten man in all this is Wilks. A man that completely changed Carolina’s fortunes in 2022, restoring respectability and accumulating plenty of support from current and former players to secure the position long-term.

It’s been a long drawn-out process. But after Tepper’s relentless pursuit of Rhule during their previous recruitment of a head coach in the wake of Ron Rivera’s dismissal, exploring every avenue and taking their time was of critical importance.

Discussions will now commence in terms of each candidate and their credentials. But with so many pivotal decisions awaiting the Panthers before free agency and leading into OTAs, the more time any new head coach gets to assist, the better.

Tepper’s football decisions haven’t exactly been great since buying the team. This has humbled the owner to a certain extent, but his second hire will come with grave ramifications one way or another.

It would be a surprise if something wasn’t confirmed in the next week or two – certainly before the Super Bowl. Anything else could hinder Carolina’s offseason plans and their ability to hire coveted coordinators to assist.

Dominoes will begin falling soon. For fans, all they can do is nervously wait for official confirmation.

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