Carolina Panthers' race against time amid coaching landscape uncertainty

The Carolina Panthers cannot be left short-handed...

David Tepper
David Tepper / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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The Carolina Panthers would be wise to swiftly secure their next head coach as the threat of further vacancies looks likelier than ever.

It's been one of the most dramatic offseasons in recent memory when it comes to head coaches. The Carolina Panthers threw their hat into the hiring ring after just 12 games by firing Frank Reich. Many more followed, including legendary figures such as Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll. So the search is on around the league with competition fierce.

A few more wrenches could be thrown in following a dramatic wildcard weekend. Speculation about potential changes to the leadership within the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles is growing after both were ousted from the postseason at the first hurdle. If Mike McCarthy and Nick Sirianni are relieved of their respective duties, it shakes things up considerably.

This is something the Panthers should be keeping a close eye on.

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper must roll with the punches

David Tepper seems to be going about his business fairly efficiently thanks to the presence of a consultancy firm. Some general manager and head coaching candidates have been interviewed. More are upcoming in the days ahead. These include Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, who's reportedly high on the billionaire owner's wishlist.

Carolina Panthers
David Tepper / Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports

There are some top jobs available even without the situations with the Cowboys and Eagles. Storied franchises like the Washington Commanders, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and Las Vegas Raiders are available. The Panthers also have competition within their division after the Atlanta Falcons let Arthur Smith go.

While this could lead Tepper into his annual panic, it's important to remain composed. It's a race against time, of course. But focusing on the implemented strategy rather than worrying too much about what others are doing should be the approach no matter what unfolds.

Stay the course. Prove to their primary targets this is a project worth being part of. That's a challenge in itself without focusing attention on competing with organizations in arguably better positions in bigger markets.

Tepper's made enough mistakes up to now. One cannot put into words how vital this hiring cycle is for the Panthers' hopes of true prosperity. Any more false moves will not be well-received by a fanbase demanding strong action after one of the worst campaigns in franchise history.

There's been no inkling about whether the Cowboys or Eagles are going to hit the reset button. The calls are deafening to do so from analysts and fans alike. That doesn't mean it's set in stone one way or another, but time is of the essence if they want their shot at some of the more coveted candidates available from a rich pool.

It's another fascinating element to factor into this complex equation for Carolina. Tepper will be appointing his third permanent head coach once something becomes official. This sort of instability cannot continue if the Panthers want to provide legitimate hope for the future.

Keeping an eye on developments elsewhere is due diligence if nothing else. Letting it impact Carolina's decision-making would be another grave error in judgment from Tepper's perspective.

Hopefully, lessons have been learned and this new transparent, professional approach can reap the necessary rewards.

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