Report: NFL Owners 'Pissed' Panthers Gave Matt Rhule 7-Year, $60M Contract

Blake SchusterContributor IJanuary 9, 2020

Carolina Panthers team owner, David Tepper, from left, poses with new head coach Matt Rhule, team president of business Tom Glick and general manager Marty Hurney during a news conference at the teams practice facility, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Mike McCarn/Associated Press

Dave Tepper's first head coaching hire as owner of the Carolina Panthers appears to have rattled his counterparts across the league. 

According to Robert Klemko of the Washington Post, NFL owners are angry Tepper gave such a large contract to a first-time NFL head coach when he signed Matt Rhule to a seven-year, $60 million deal.

Klemko spoke with a fellow NFC South coach who noted owners are "pissed" and will look to "hurt [Tepper] at the next league meetings. They might just shut him out of the room."

The price for hiring top coaches has certainly been inflated in recent years—Jon Gruden signed a 10-year, $100 million deal with the Oakland Raiders in 2018—but the numbers for Rhule are still surprising.

The former head of Baylor's football team is now the sixth-highest paid coach in the league behind Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Gruden, Sean Payton and John Harbaugh in that order. Notably, each of those coaches has won a Super Bowl. Then again, there was interest in Rhule around the league, particularly from the New York Giants, and you can't fault Tepper for going over the top to make sure he signed his first choice to replace Ron Rivera. Getting outbid by a larger market has doomed many teams across all leagues. Tepper was clearly determined to avoid the same outcome. 

What's more, the Panthers reportedly paid $6 million to buy Rhule out of his contract at Baylor, and the coach can earn up to $70 million in total by way of incentives. But Tepper is also the richest owner in the NFL with a net worth of $12 billion, according to Forbes.

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