What next for Steve Wilks after Carolina Panthers appoint Frank Reich?

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Wilks
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Wilks /

What comes next for Steve Wilks after the Carolina Panthers opted to make Frank Reich their next head coach?

It was a tough decision for the Carolina Panthers. One that eventually came down to Steve Wilks, Frank Reich, and Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Wilks did a phenomenal job after replacing the floundering Matt Rhule. This was one of the toughest tasks any interim could have given Carolina’s concerned state at the time, but the interim turned the Panthers from a dumpster fire into a shock playoff hopeful in just 12 weeks.

The Panthers fell short after losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17. But that does not detract from how much belief Wilks restored to a franchise that was crying out for optimism.

David Tepper needed to get this decision right. And considering the current trend of offensive-minded head coaches achieving success across the league, the billionaire took a chance with Reich as the man to lead Carolina moving forward.

Steve Wilks should get offers beyond the Carolina Panthers

This is harsh on Wilks, to put it mildly. Although it was a win-win for the Panthers, the former Arizona Cardinals head coach will feel bitterly disappointed not to get an opportunity to form his own staff and get his type of players into the organization.

Reich ticked most boxes of what Tepper was reportedly seeking. His previous head coaching experience also helped, even if things turned sour quickly before he was fired by the Indianapolis Colts.

What comes next for Wilks is uncertain. The Panthers might offer him the defensive coordinator position given the esteem in which he is held, but one couldn’t say with any certainty that it’s something he’d accept all things considered.

According to Sheena Quick of FOX Sports Radio1340, the Atlanta Falcons were watching Wilks’ situation closely. Now that he is free to explore other opportunities, Carolina’s fierce NFC South rival could offer him the chance to become their defensive coordinator in the not-too-distant future.

Wilks will probably get additional job chances to ponder. Especially considering how his personal stock soared after dragging Carolina out of the abyss and reinstalling belief in players and fans alike.

This is also adding fuel to the fire regarding Brian Flores’ class-action lawsuit against the NFL which Wilks is already part of. A statement from Wigdor Law LLP on Twitter outlined their concern, indicating more comments will be made once the dust settles.

"“We are shocked and disturbed that after the incredible job Coach Wilks did as the interim coach, including bringing the team back into Playoff contention and garnering the support of the players and fans, that he was passed over for the Head Coach position by David Tepper. There is a legitimate race problem in the NFL, and we can assure you that we will have more to say in the coming days.”"

This is a disappointing end to Wilks’ second coaching stint with the Panthers. One that began with the defensive backs and ended with a 6-6 record as the team’s undisputed leader.

Wilks might not get the permanent task of coaching his hometown team. But he can leave with his head held high, knowing the Panthers are in a monumentally better position thanks to his hard work.

And every fan will wish him nothing but the best moving forward.

light. Related Story. 4 Carolina Panthers players guaranteed to leave the team in 2023