Former Carolina Panthers head coach lambasted for Lamar Jackson snub

Ron Rivera
Ron Rivera / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Former Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was lambasted for his decision surrounding a potential bid for star quarterback Lamar Jackson.

It's been interesting to see how Ron Rivera's career has gone since being fired by the Carolina Panthers during the 2019 season. The respected head coach was not out of work for long, joining the Washington Commanders and enjoying immediate success en route to a postseason berth. 

Things have been a mixed bag since for Rivera. And the football gods have dealt him a concerning hand with the prospect of new ownership for the second time after Dan Snyder received two bids that reportedly met his $6 billion asking price earlier this week. 

This is nothing Rivera hasn't experienced before. In the face of uncertainty, he remains steadfast in his belief that drafting and developing talent is the best possible method of success rather than going a little bolder in pursuit of progression. 

Former Carolina Panthers head coach criticized for Lamar Jackson stance

Despite the need for improved quarterback production in Washington, Rivera was keen to point out that pursuing Lamar Jackson was never in the team's thought process. This does appear surprising given the Commanders have been starved of a franchise quarterback for decades. 

The decision from Rivera came in for significant criticism from Michael Lombardi, who highlighted his lack of sustained success and suspect quarterback moves aside from lucking into Cam Newton at No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. 

This isn't the first time that the former general manager turned NFL analyst has been scathing in his criticism of Rivera. But it's hard to look at his latest comments and not think good points weren't made. 

Jackson would make most teams around the league better. So for Rivera to completely dismiss the notion when Washington's current options are Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett is mind-boggling. 

Yes, the contract would be substantial. Although the two first-round picks it would cost on the non-exclusive franchise tag is nothing compared to what Jackson would command in a typical situation. 

This is a trend currently being deployed almost in unison around the NFL. Owners are standing firm in terms of the guaranteed money aspect, which is what the Cleveland Browns gave Deshaun Watson to get this trade over the line. 

One could question Rivera's roster-building methods in Carolina, too. Picking generational talent over back-to-back years in Newton and Luke Kuechly should have come with a Super Bowl, but the decision-makers couldn't provide the quarterback with enough weapons or an offensive line capable of hosting the Vince Lombardi trophy. 

Rivera provided further clarification on his decision to avoid Jackson at the NFL owners' meetings. He feels the reasons are viable, even if it doesn't change the fact this could be the move that got the once-proud Commanders back to the league's top table. 

"We didn't feel it suited what we wanted to do. I know he's a tremendous talent. I know he's a player that can impact your team. I just didn't think ... that was the direction for us as a team."

Ron Rivera via ESPN

Jackson's relationship with the Baltimore Ravens might have passed the point of no return. As for Rivera, he's betting his job on Howell or Brissett working magic in Eric Bieniemy's creative new offensive system. 

Only time will tell as to whether or not it'll pay off.

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