Panthers make the first coaching move by hiring Frank Reich

Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Carolina Panthers have made their move at head coach, officially hiring Frank Reich to be the next head coach of the team.

The Carolina Panthers have made the first coaching hire of the offseason. They have hired Frank Reich to be their next head coach according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

It’s not completely surprising to see the Panthers as the first team to make a coaching hire. They were also the team with the longest vacancy, having fired Matt Rhule midseason. Carolina had plenty of time to build a model of what they wanted in their next leader, and clearly, Reich fit it.

Reich, as pointed out by Pelissero, threw the first touchdown pass in Panthers history. In his lone season as a Panther, he started three games, threw two touchdowns and 441 yards. Kerry Collins, a rookie, took over from there. His first game with Carolina was actually played in South Carolina at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium. Today, the Panthers play in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium.

Reich, who played 13 years in the NFL, is 40-33 as a coach, having been the coach of the Indianapolis Colts since 2018. Like Rhule, he was fired midseason 2022. Previously, he worked as an offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles.

Frank Reich and Panthers can look toward the draft

Scott Fitterer, Reich, and the Panthers now have one piece of the puzzle in place, and must look toward the NFL Draft. The Panthers, who cycled through three starting quarterbacks in 2022, need to find their offensive leader.

The Panthers draft ninth. There’s a case to be made for them to try to get a quarterback in the draft, but after several tries at rookie QBs and stopgap fillers, they may want to look toward a more established, veteran QB. Derek Carr is up there as an option. Or, in a dream scenario, perhaps Tom Brady?

Reich has his work cut out for him as the Panthers have missed the playoffs for five consecutive seasons.

Importantly, the Panthers are now out on Sean Payton. The Saints as a division rival certainly would have charged the Panthers more than any other team in terms of draft compensation to secure Payton’s coaching rights, which the Saints hold.

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