The Carolina Panthers fired head coach Ron Rivera Tuesday afternoon, and reactions are pouring in from within the Panthers organization and around the league. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton posted to Instagram thanking Rivera and stating that the decision “hurt deep.”
The decision was not shocking for a lot of folks, but the timing did catch people off guard. The Panthers have been struggling of late, and David Tepper’s purchase of the team in 2018 likely put everyone on notice. Four straight losses, including to struggling Atlanta and Washington were the last straw.
The Panthers will put together a search for a new head coach and are also planning on hiring an assistant general manager and a VP of football operations. This could result in some significant changes, and Newton is on the radar as one potential change.
Newton is due $18.6 million next season, in the last year of his contract. That’s pretty reasonable for a quarterback with his kind of upside, but a new coach and front office person might decide they want to start over at the quarterback position. Kyle Allen does not seem to be the answer, but there has been regular scuttlebutt that Newton could be traded.
The decision to fire Rivera might officially bring the Newton era to an end. He cannot be traded until the new league year opens next March, but if a deal is going to happen, we’ll hear plenty of rumors before then.