Panthers owner David Tepper, who spent nearly $2.5M billion to purchase the team amid the fallout of Jerry Richardson’s sexual misconduct suspension a year ago, is becoming increasingly frustrated with the team’s recent performances and is mulling major changes if the results to do not change quickly, multiple league sources said.
Tepper, who is considered incredibly bright and engaged and who the league very much wanted to take over another team after his years spent as a minority owner in Pittsburgh, came into the season comfortable with the team’s coaching and management situation and was not looking to make moves, according to numerous sources familiar with his thinking, but has been reaching out increasingly to confidants and associates around the league in recent weeks and expressing a growing sense that he may need to shake up the organization. Tepper has been concerned about the lack of analytics in the franchise and has wondered whether the franchise was too old school in some regards, and the collapse of their defense and some recent in-game decisions by coach Ron Rivera have added to the unrest, the sources said. A loss to lowly Tampa Sunday – after three-straight defeats following a fast start – will only hasten the momentum, the sources said.
The Panthers would quickly move atop the wish list of many of the top head-coaching candidates, with Tepper viewed as a big-spender and progressive owner with a roster already filled with top talent. The media market is hardly overwhelming, it is a great place to live and there is a history of being a winning franchise. While many of those counseling Tepper have urged him to be as patient as possible, several sources who have worked with him the past anticipate major changes if this team does not surge down the stretch.
Carolina could still certainly capture a playoff spot, but the schedule is not easy as, after the Buccaneers (watch the game on fuboTV, try it for free), the Panthers travel to surging Cleveland, then have division games against the Super Bowl-favorite Saints (twice) and Falcons.
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