Panthers Rumors: Matt Rhule Won't Be Fired, 'Barring an Epic Meltdown'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 2, 2022

Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule walks off the field after a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman

The Carolina Panthers are 5-10 after five straight losses, but head coach Matt Rhule is expected to keep his job heading into 2022.

"All indications are coach Matt Rhule will return, barring an epic meltdown on the field or some unforeseen circumstance, sources informed of Carolina's plans said," Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported.

The Panthers began the season with a 3-0 record but have won just two games since September. It means Rhule is 10-21 across two seasons in Carolina.

Sam Darnold, Cam Newton and P.J. Walker have all started games at quarterback, but the team continues to struggle offensively, ranking 26th in the NFL in points scored. 

After his team's 32-6 blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16, Rhule remained upbeat about the team's progress under him.

"I believe it's 1,000 percent working," Rhule told reporters. "I just know no one can see it, and I apologize. As I tell our team all the time, it took Jay-Z, like, seven years. He had to start his own agency to become famous, to become an overnight sensation. It takes time."

The timeline he referenced is interesting considering the Panthers gave Rhule a seven-year, $62 million contract when he was hired in 2020.

Carolina owner David Tepper is reportedly "unhappy and embarrassed" about the contract, per Joe Person of The Athletic.

The 46-year-old had a successful run as a college head coach at both Temple and Baylor, but his first attempt leading an NFL team has not gone according to plan. Even if he gets a third year with the organization, there will likely be a short leash if things don't turn around in a hurry.