For most coaches who see the G.M. fired and a new one hired, it’s a bad sign. For Panthers coach Matt Rhule, it’s a positive development.
As one league source explained it to PFT, the firing of Panthers G.M. Marty Hurney means that Rhule will essentially be running the show in Carolina, once the dust settles on the hiring of a new G.M.
It could happen as a practical matter, or it could be made more official. The new G.M. may report to Rhule; the new G.M. may report to owner David Tepper. Regardless, the new G.M. won’t be someone who comes in with a short list of preferred coaching hires and bides his time until the time comes to move out Rhule and hire someone else.
This makes Rhule a key player in the search for a new G.M., and it gives Rhule plenty of power moving forward.
It should be no surprise. The curve-blowing contract that Tepper gave to Rhule in early 2020 says it all. Rhule won’t have to worry about the new G.M. firing the coach. And the new G.M. surely won’t get the job without Rhule’s agreement.
Although the Panthers could technically give the new G.M. final say over the draft or the roster (even if Rhule will actually be making those calls), any arrangement that doesn’t entail a G.M. contract with those powers will make it harder to hire a replacement who currently has a contract with another team.
Teams from time to time have tried to circumvent the spirit of the rule by creating a disconnect between the contract and the reality for the G.M., and it rarely becomes an issue. Tepper, who angered other owners by paying an entry-level coach so much money, may decide to push the envelope in order to get the G.M. he wants.