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NFL Rumors: Panthers, Texans Seen as 'Most Attractive' HC Openings to Coaches, Execs

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 23, 2023

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 06: A Carolina Panthers helmet sits not the sideline during the NFL game between the Carolina Panthers and the Cincinnati Bengals on November 6, 2022, at Paycor Stadium, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans had disappointing 2022 seasons and combined to go 10-23-1, but they have the brightest futures of the NFL teams looking for new head coaches.

At least in the eyes of executives and coaches around the league.

"The Panthers and Texans emerged as most attractive openings in conversations with coaches and executives," Mike Sando of The Athletic reported. "Those teams are in better position than the others to land the quarterbacks they want."

Landing a franchise quarterback is the most important step toward building a Super Bowl contender, and the Texans have the No. 2 pick in the upcoming NFL draft. The Panthers aren't far behind with the No. 9 pick, and the No. 1 selection that belongs to the Chicago Bears could be available via trade for the right price.

That could give Houston and Carolina an opportunity to draft Alabama's Bryce Young, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud or Kentucky's Will Levis and establish a partnership between new coach and new quarterback that may not be as available for teams such as the Denver Broncos or Arizona Cardinals.

Level of competition is also a consideration, as Houston is in the AFC South and Carolina is in the NFC South.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the NFC South at 8-9 this season, while the Jacksonville Jaguars were hardly better as AFC South champions at 9-8. Coaching in the AFC South also means not worrying about Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen or Justin Herbert in the division.

It adds up to enticing coaching opportunities as the Texans and Panthers find their next leader this offseason.