Panthers coach Ron Rivera is getting a new contract, one that gives him some financial security but no extra job security.
Rivera and the Panthers are close to agreeing to an extension through 2020, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
That means Rivera knows he’ll get paid through 2020. It doesn’t mean Rivera knows he’ll be the Panthers’ coach through 2020.
The Panthers are up for sale, and they’ll have a new owner this year. The new owner, who will spend about $2 billion to buy the team, can easily afford to fire Rivera and hire someone else. Buying out the remainder of Rivera’s contract might cost something in the neighborhood of $10 million. That’s less than 1 percent of the purchase price of the team.
For the Panthers’ next owner, this contract is a great deal: If Carolina wins the Super Bowl this year, the new owner is buying the team knowing that his Super Bowl-winning coach is locked up for three more seasons. If Carolina loses tomorrow in New Orleans and then has a disappointing 2018 season, the new owner can fire Rivera and hire a new coach, at the cost of a buyout that would sound like a lot of money to an ordinary person but would be a pittance to anyone who can afford to buy an NFL team.
So Rivera will still have to impress the Panthers’ next owner or else he’ll be out, new contract or not.