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Sunday, February 25, 2024
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Could Panthers’ Ongoing Setbacks Lead To A Surprise Move?

  • A former Panthers player-turned-broadcaster could be interested in the Carolina coaching job.
  • The team is looking for yet another new head coach under owner David Tepper.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After firing Frank Reich, the Carolina Panthers are now searching for their fourth full-time head coach since owner David Tepper bought the team in 2018. 

And oddly enough, changes at one of the NFL’s broadcast partners might play a key role in who they consider hiring next.

Top Fox Sports game analyst Greg Olsen would be interested in the Panthers’ head coaching gig if he were approached, sources told The Athletic. The former three-time Pro Bowl tight end played nine of his 14 NFL seasons in Carolina and is currently paired with Kevin Burkhardt, the network’s lead play-by-play announcer.

But Olsen’s status at Fox in 2024 is uncertain. Tom Brady is set to take over as the network’s top game analyst next fall, as part of the 10-year, $375 million contract he agreed to before retiring. 

The report could be a leverage play by Olsen’s camp — the 38-year-old has never coached on a professional level — or a genuine expression of interest. Former Fox analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer John Lynch has led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance and a pair of NFC title games since becoming GM in 2017.

Ownership Obstacles

On Tuesday, Panthers owner David Tepper insisted he hasn’t been muddling in football matters — like drafting Bryce Young over C.J. Stroud. “I don’t really vote on those decisions until the last piece,” he said.

The team has had a losing record in all six seasons of Tepper’s tenure, but the Panthers’ struggles extend beyond the gridiron. Last year, plans for a new $800 million headquarters for the Panthers and MLS club Charlotte FC fell through.

According to Forbes’ annual lists, the Panthers have fallen from the 21st-most valuable NFL team in 2018 — when Tepper bought the club for nearly $2.3 billion — to 26th in the 2023 rankings at an estimated value of $4.1 billion.

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