Is Carolina Panthers dream team rumor the best-case scenario for future success?

Could this be the partnership to get the Carolina Panthers into contention?

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson / Mike Mulholland/GettyImages
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Could a potential dream team combination of Ben Johnson and Ejiro Evero provide the Carolina Panthers with a brighter future in 2024?

Although two games remain of the 2023 season, fans are already turning their attention to what promises to be another offseason full of drama. The Carolina Panthers are on the lookout for a new head coach after firing Frank Reich. Could an intriguing partnership help the franchise blossom long-term if team owner David Tepper can pull it off?

It's becoming clear that Ben Johnson is Carolina's top choice when it comes to their next head coach. They won't be alone in that regard, with the Detroit Lions offensive coordinator enhancing his flourishing reputation throughout the campaign en route to a playoff berth.

Carolina Panthers looking at potential dream team duo

According to Joe Person of The Athletic, the prospect of pairing Johnson with defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero has been discussed in-house. While this represents another arranged marriage of sorts, it might also provide the stable foundations needed to get the Panthers off the canvas and into contention.

"Evero is expected to draw head-coaching interest. Tepper has been pleased with the defensive staff but likely will target a head coach with an offensive background. One possible pairing: Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and Evero, both of whom are represented by Richmond Flowers. Johnson, a North Carolina native and former UNC backup quarterback, was Tepper’s favorite last year before he removed himself from consideration. Evero, who’s under contract with the Panthers next year, said he hasn’t spoken to Tepper about the future."

Joe Person, The Athletic
Carolina Panthers
Ejiro Evero / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Evero is going to get head coaching consideration from elsewhere. If the Panthers go all-in for Johnson, they'll be playing the waiting game to see if their current defensive guru gets a top job. Something that looks plausible when one considers how well his unit has performed in difficult circumstances throughout the campaign.

Acquiring Johnson and retaining Evero gives the Panthers two of the most progressive minds in their respective fields. It also maintains some sense of continuity amid more substantial changes to the team's infrastructure.

Reports of Johnson reportedly wanting $15 million per year shouldn't matter much to Tepper. He's one of the league's wealthiest owners. He wanted the play-caller to become head coach last year. If this is the price for success, it's chump change to a man who boasts a real-time net worth of $20.6 billion according to Forbes.

There is one wrinkle in this equation going overlooked. General manager Scott Fitterer has been given no assurances on his future beyond the current campaign. If Tepper cuts ties, a new front-office leader needs to have a huge say in how best to take the franchise forward. Whether it's enough for the billionaire to take a back seat and stop meddling is another matter.

Tepper isn't known for making smart choices on the football side. He's reportedly willing to rethink the way he goes about his business. Saying it and seeing it are two very different things - something that might sway Johnson's thought process one way or another.

It won't be much longer before we find out for sure. The Panthers have a potential franchise quarterback to build around. Their defense has some outstanding pieces to remain competitive. They just need forward-thinkers to help them reach the next step.

Johnson and Evero could be a dream team capable of surging the Panthers back to prominence. If Tepper can pull this off, it will go a long way to getting back in the fans' good graces.

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