Haason Reddick casts another stain on Matt Rhule’s tenure with Panthers

(Joe Rondone/The Arizona Republic via IMAGN Content Services) Haason Reddick
(Joe Rondone/The Arizona Republic via IMAGN Content Services) Haason Reddick /

Revelations from Haason Reddick about his departure from the Carolina Panthers are yet further evidence of Matt Rhule’s prolonged incompetence. 

After a sensational first season with the Carolina Panthers, Haason Reddick was looking for a payday after betting on himself in 2022 free agency. Something the prolific edge rusher richly deserved after taking the league by storm for two consecutive campaigns.

Reddick provided the Panthers with a fierce pass-rushing presence opposite Brian Burns. His 11 sacks led the team and although money was tight, all signs pointed to the former Temple star getting a long-term deal in Carolina.

However, the team and head coach Matt Rhule had other plans.

Haason Reddick wanted to stay with the Carolina Panthers

While many thought Reddick wanted to test the market rather than re-sign, the player painted a very different story when speaking at the Super Bowl media day. Something that further infuriated Carolina’s fanbase and is another stain on Rhule’s time with the organization.

This dispels the notion Reddick wanted to leave. Although things turned out pretty well for him on the Philadelphia Eagles with 16 regular-season sacks and a dominant performance in their NFC Championship triumph over the San Francisco 49ers.

It’s no secret that Rhule had the final say on roster moves and left little room for others to lend their input, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic. This puts the blame squarely at his door, even though the recently appointed Nebraska head coach offers no accountability and is even suing the Panthers for an extra $5 million, which the team is disputing.

While the preference is for everyone to move on, it seems Rhule’s methods of malpractice know no bounds. And there could be many more revelations to come before the dust eventually settles.

Stephon Gilmore and Reddick both wished to remain on the team. Instead, Rhule decided to extend Donte Jackson – the often-injured cornerback that now faces a considerable period on the shelf after tearing his Achilles in 2022.

Promoting Yetur Gross-Matos to the starting role in the wake of Reddick’s departure was another grave error in judgment. Rhule just couldn’t evaluate or develop NFL talent and it set the Panthers back considerably.

This dark cloud has mercifully vanished, even if the scars remain. The Panthers now have a legitimate NFL head coach in Frank Reich, who is molding an exceptional staff capable of bringing the best out of his players at long last.

As for Rhule, his silver tongue and salesman-like speeches are going down a storm in Nebraska. But he’ll never get an NFL opportunity again after the cataclysmic mess he left in Carolina.

Reddick could end up with a ring in his first season with the Eagles, so this doesn’t mean much to him. Even if pairing the former first-round pick with Burns long-term could have been highly beneficial for the Panthers’ chances of finally emerging from obscurity and into the national spotlight.

The NFL is set up for good players to stay with their respective teams. Salary-cap maneuverings occur annually and are easily swung by serious organizations, but Rhule’s inept personnel decisions allowed two All-Pros to depart in favor of providing fringe players opportunities they couldn’t grasp.

This was nauseating and something well in keeping with reports of what transpired within the building since Rhule’s firing was confirmed. It’s the worst reign of any head coach in franchise history made even worse by the fact Tepper gave him the keys to run a professional outfit like a college program.

A mistake he won’t be making again in a hurry.

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