Report: Panthers' David Tepper 'Unhappy and Embarrassed' By Matt Rhule Contract

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 1, 2022

Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule attends a news conference after an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Bills won, 31-14. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper is reportedly having buyer's remorse when it comes to head coach Matt Rhule.

According to Joseph Person of The Athletic, Tepper is "unhappy and embarrassed" over the decision to sign Rhule to a seven-year, $62 million contract two years ago.

Rhule has gone a combined 10-21 in his two seasons in Carolina, and with a record of 5-10 this season, the Panthers are set to miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.

Despite the Panthers' lack of success since Rhule's arrival, Person noted that Tepper intends on giving him a third season in 2022 to right the ship.

Prior to getting hired by the Panthers, Rhule had limited NFL experience, serving as the New York Giants' assistant offensive line coach for just one season in 2012.

The New York City native enjoyed his greatest success immediately after his short tenure with the Giants, turning around struggling college programs in both Temple and Baylor.

In four seasons as Temple's head coach, Rhule went 28-23 with two bowl appearances. The Owls went just 2-10 in his first season, but they won 10 games in each of his final two campaigns.

Rhule was then hired to be the new head coach at Baylor in 2017, and after going 1-11 in his first season, the Bears improved to 7-6 in 2018 and then 11-3 in 2019, culminating in a Sugar Bowl berth.

Tepper undoubtedly hoped Rhule could stage a similar turnaround in Carolina, but the results haven't been there yet.

The Panthers have a young, talented defense that ranks second in the NFL this season in total yards allowed, but the offense is on the other end of the spectrum.

Carolina ranked 21st in total offense and 24th in scoring last season with former LSU offensive guru Joe Brady serving as offensive coordinator and Teddy Bridgewater under center.

The Panthers struggled without running back Christian McCaffrey, who missed all but three games because of injury.

Carolina got off to a strong offensive start this season thanks largely to the play of McCaffrey and quarterback Sam Darnold, but since a 3-0 start, the unit has gone downhill and the Panthers have posted a 2-10 record.

McCaffrey was lost for the season once again after appearing in only seven games, Brady was fired and Darnold has played sparingly in recent weeks because of injury and poor performance.

The Panthers turned to longtime quarterback Cam Newton during Darnold's absence, but it did little to change the trajectory, as Carolina ranks 28th in total offense and 26th in scoring.

There is talent present on the Carolina offense, especially when McCaffrey is healthy, but if the Panthers can't find a competent quarterback for next season, Rhule may be on borrowed time.