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Panthers, Rivera Talking About New Deal
Friday, Feb. 26
Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reported the Panthers reached out to Rivera to begin talks about a possible raise after leading the team to Super Bowl 50, in which they lost to the Denver Broncos.
Rivera took over the Panthers in 2011. After missing the playoffs in each of his first two years, Carolina is now on a three-year streak of reaching the postseason. It's allowed him to rack up a 47-32-1 (.594) record in the regular season and a 3-3 mark in the playoffs.
This past season was the best to date. The Cam Newton-led squad went 15-1 during the regular season before knocking off the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals in the NFC playoffs. But the Broncos' defense was simply too much to handle in the Super Bowl.
Despite falling just short of the ultimate goal, Rivera came away impressed with how his team jelled, especially when Newton received backlash throughout the year, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk:
This was a very special group of young men that came together. I hope we can carry that forward into the 2016 season and everybody remain focused on what the task is. I think that's one of the things as I said earlier, we know who Cam is. We understand who the young man is and who he wants to be for us. And that's more important to us. He's really committed himself to being our franchise quarterback.
Carolina is in position to succeed for the foreseeable future, too. It features a strong core of contributors, highlighted by Newton, Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, that should be able to get the team right back into the mix next season.
Breakout corner Josh Norman is the most notable free agent, but he should be retained either through an extension or the franchise tag. So all the pieces will be in place for another run.
That makes locking up Rivera one of the main tasks for the offseason. He previously signed a three-year extension in early 2014, which Person notes paid him more than $4 million per season. He'll be looking for another raise, given the team's continued success since that point.
Maintaining that stability at the top is preferable for the Panthers as they head into what should be a stretch of at least a few more seasons in which they are a legitimate title threat.