The Carolina Panthers will need a new head coach following the 2019 NFL season.
The Panthers announced the firing of Ron Rivera on Tuesday. He spent eight-plus seasons in Carolina, winning three NFC South titles and helping lead the franchise to its second Super Bowl appearance in 2015.
One name that is often mentioned in coaching rumors each December/January is New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels reportedly interviewed with the Green Bay Packers in January, but they chose Matt LaFleur instead. McDaniels nearly left New England to become the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in February of 2018 but ultimately returned to the Patriots.
If the Panthers show interest in McDaniels, would he be smart to listen?
Let's start with the Carolina's quarterback situation.
It's hard to win a Super Bowl without a top-tier quarterback, and while Panthers star Cam Newton is in that class when healthy, his injury history and the physical toll he's taken in nine pro seasons are genuine concerns. Newton played in Carolina's first two games this season before landing on injured reserve with a foot injury. There's been speculation that the Panthers could decide to move on from Newton after the 2019 campaign. He's under contract for just one more season at about $19 million.
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Kyle Allen replaced Newton as the starting quarterback and has failed to impress. He's lost five of his last six starts with eight touchdown passes and nine interceptions over that span. The other quarterback of note on the Panthers roster is rookie Will Grier. The University of West Virginia product fell to Carolina in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
So, the quarterback situation isn't great. Newton's long-term future with the franchise is uncertain, and neither of the young QBs on the team project to be franchise cornerstones. Panthers star Christian McCaffrey is an elite player, but taking a head coaching job because of a running back makes no sense. The Panthers have some good talent on defense, but it's not an elite unit.
McDaniels should not show interest in the Panthers job. He should wait for an opening on a team with a better quarterback. What if the Houston Texans disappoint in the playoffs again and Bill O'Brien is fired? What if the Dallas Cowboys finally make a change and part ways with Jason Garrett? Both the Texans (Deshaun Watson) and Cowboys (Dak Prescott) have really talented young quarterbacks and better rosters from top to bottom compared to the Panthers.
Of course, McDaniels could just stay in New England long term. Maybe he could be Bill Belichick's successor. Whatever the case might be, McDaniels should wait for a better head coaching job than the Panthers.
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Panthers fire head coach Ron Rivera; is job a good fit for Patriots' Josh McDaniels? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston