Report: David Tepper is “unhappy and embarrassed” by the contract he gave to Matt Rhule

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The headline to Friday’s article from Joseph Person of TheAthletic.com implies that Panthers coach Matt Rhule will return for a third season. The second paragraph sends a far different message.

“[S]ources say owner David Tepper is unhappy and embarrassed after the $16 billion hedge fund manager gave Rhule a seven-year, $62 million deal to outbid the New York Giants for his services,” Person writes.

Terms like “unhappy” and “embarrassed” don’t exactly amount to a guarantee that Rhule will be retained for a third season. Another adjective applies to Tepper — brilliant. That quality may cause him to regard with appropriate skepticism any and all efforts by Rhule to recruit his assistant coaches and players to send the message that everything is working (that messages comes through clearly in Person’s article), and that Rhule’s past turnaround efforts at Temple and Baylor have struck gold in year three.

The same instincts that helped Tepper make billions will cause him to analyze and scrutinize any effort by Rhule to get the owner to keep him around for a third season. Will a third season matter? That’s the question Tepper must resolve. Person explains, citing league sources and insiders, that Rhule’s limited NFL background (he had one year as an assistant offensive line coach with the Giants, in 2012) is hurting him in his current job, especially since he has final say over all football matters. Also, some think he keeps too many of his college players on the roster, making it less of a meritocracy in Carolina and more of a who-you-know situation.

Then there’s this. Rhule reportedly boasted in a team meeting that he could get one of the top college jobs and make more money, but that he wanted to be in Charlotte. What will Tepper think of that? Will he now wonder whether, if the team turns it around in 2022, a college program will throw millions at Rhule, and he’ll take it?

Of all the things that went wrong this year, the sudden and abrupt firing of offensive coordinator Joe Brady on a Sunday afternoon, a full week into the team’s annual two-week break, stands out. The decision has never been fully explained, and it reeks of dysfunction. Maybe the team chose Cam Newton over Brady. If so, well, Newton hasn’t done much after that to show that he was the right choice. Or what if Rhule simply caught a vibe that Tepper possibly would consider making an in-season change? Firing Brady wiped out perhaps the most viable in-house option to serve as the interim head coach.

However it plays out, things aren’t going well in Carolina. And if Tepper truly is “unhappy and embarrassed” about the decision to give Rhule such a huge contract two years ago, how can the possibility that Rhule will decide to rectify his mistake after the current season ends (or maybe even sooner) be completely ignored?

Tepper seems to be very direct and straightforward. His current silence is noteworthy. As Week 18 approaches, it could quickly become deafening.

67 responses to “Report: David Tepper is “unhappy and embarrassed” by the contract he gave to Matt Rhule

  1. Just because you’re wealthy doesn’t mean you are an intelligent person. This is another example of it.

  2. David Tepper translation…..”I’m going to outbid Jacksonville for the services of Doug Pederson.”

  3. Well get the man a QB then. You’ve given him nothing to work with and that’s on you.

  4. Wow, great start to the new year down in Carolina. Did Tepper sign off on Sam Darnold? He should be embarrassed.

  5. isheimfromcolfax says:
    January 1, 2022 at 11:30 am
    Well get the man a QB then. You’ve given him nothing to work with and that’s on you.

    4 0 Rate This

    ——————-

    Umm, the guy he hired stupidly sold out for Sam Darnold. It’s on both of him.

  6. When you outbid the dysfunctional Giants for someone you can be pretty sure you got hosed.

  7. The comedy act continues in Charlotte and neither David Tepper nor Matt Rhule have a clue??? Tepper can stay as he is the owner but Rhule needs to go and sooner than later and the Carolina Panthers are a train wreck.

  8. Tepper is a fool for giving a coach that has turned around college programs, not NFL teams, that kind of money.

  9. isheimfromcolfax says:
    January 1, 2022 at 11:30 am
    Well get the man a QB then. You’ve given him nothing to work with and that’s on you.

    22 5 Rate This
    ____________________________________________________________________________________
    While on the surface that is easy to say, there may not be a franchise QB in this draft.
    The other alternative is to trade to acquire one, but the problem with that is what you’d have to give up to get one. There are way too many holes on this team to think they are just a QB away from competing. Mix in the fact that they only have a 1st, two 5th’s, & a 6th pick in the upcoming draft and you begin to see how hard it would be to make a trade.
    I believe they are stuck with this for another year. The best course of action would be to quit looking for a quick fix, draft an OT, play Darnold, and wait until 2023 to look for a franchise QB. I don’t like it any more than the next guy, but that’s where they are…

  10. Bill Walsh was 8-24 in his first two seasons with the 49ers, and there were rumors that the relationship between Eddie Debartolo and Walsh weren’t all that great. The third year they made Joe Montana there starting QB, and they won the super bowl that very first year with Joe at QB. Same playbook. Same staff. It was Walsh’s 3rd season. If anyone was paying attention to last season when Tom Brady moved to Tampa Bay, a team that hadn’t won a single playoff game in 18 years, and won the super bowl, while the Patriots, who had won 6 super bowls with Brady, and made it into the playoffs every year except the year (2008) Brady missed the season with an injury, missed the playoffs. Arians used the same playbook and had the same staff. So even a couple of the greatest coaches in NFL history needed a first ballot HOF QB to win. I don’t think I’d ask more from Rhule than what Walsh and Belichick were able to accomplish. Maybe Trepper should give Eddie DeBartolo a call if he’s feeling like he hired the wrong coach. Or maybe he should just talk to Bruce Arians. Arians is a straight shooter, and he’ll tell him the truth. Or Call Andy Reid. He’s a HOF coach now, but he was one of the most criticized coaches prior to drafting Patrick Mahomes. Here’s a little secret; it’s a QB league.

  11. That’s what happens when u surround yourself with “yes” men that can’t protect you from you.

  12. All the signs before Tepper took over suggested he was the second coming of Dan Snyder. Evidence so far suggests he will be just as terrible an owner.

  13. Fire this guy. Rhule went all in on Sam Darnold at QB. This alone is proof positive that he is not up to the job.

  14. It’s so funny to hear people complain about ownership in Pittsburgh saying they’re boring and keep the same guys around forever, yet these teams have meddling owners like Tepper who have no idea how a franchise is built and they just hire and fire the hottest names without letting things work out. Tough to judge someone without ever having a solid QB under center, and their expensive offensive weapon always on the shelf.

  15. Al Golden turned Temple around. That’s what got him to U of M. Art Briles turned around Baylor. They were sold a bill of goods.

  16. Another case of a non-football person thinking they’re a genius and have all the answers. In Hollywood, when non-movie people invest in pictures, it’s called “stupid money.” We’re seeing that in the NFL — in Carolina now.

  17. Rhule is in over his head– and so is Tepper. Just because you have money or are successful in business doesn’t mean you automatically know what you are doing in football. Have to laugh remembering people touting him as the next great owner.

  18. Sam Darnold, the second-coming of Jeff George, had no business being brought to Carolina in the first place. Not having CMC has hurt the offense, but while there are no stud receivers on the team, there are plenty of serviceable guys who frankly are better than what Mac Jones has to throw to. So the inaccurate passer goes down, and they travel back in their time machine to grab an even MORE inaccurate passer. Chants of MVP lasted all of 1 game until reality set in. Tepper should clear the decks with a giant “My bad” and start with a deserving NFL assistant. Eric Bienemy (KC), Nathaniel Hackett (GB) or Brian Daboll (BUF) would all be DRAMATIC upgrades.

  19. I’m not going to defend Matt Rhule. Trading for Darnold looks to be a big mistake and having no depth behind him really made no sense (gardner minshew was available for next to nothing and would have helped them a lot more than Cam Newton).

    That said, it’s hard to win games when your best player can’t stay on the field. CMC building a house and residing on the IR makes competing really difficult.

    And if the owner is embarrassed by the contract he handed out, then fire Rhule and move on. Maybe next time hire a firm or someone with experience to do the hiring process. It’s only money, which he has a lot of, and you can’t compound one mistake by making another and not moving on. That’s not fair to the team or the fanbase.

  20. Considering Matt Rhule insisted Sam Darnold was the long-term franchise and pushed for that ridiculous contract, and how they shipped Teddy Bridgewater off the year before. There is ZERO indication and ZERO precedent that a 3rd Quarterback in the 3rd year of a college coaches career will suddenly take off like a rocket.

    Cut your losses Tepper and start over with a new coach.

  21. I remember all the people upset JJ choosing McCarthy over the then hot and upcoming prospect with the magic touch of turning programs around, that’s the one thing that has always amazed me about these expectations, few have that success and find out fast that dealing with young adults not far removed from puberty is a whole different story than dealing with grown men being paid for their services.

  22. If Rhule is fired, look for the Vikings to quickly fire Zimmer and offer the job to Rhule quickly they’re really good at finding the coach nobody wants & giving a tremendous contract to…….

  23. As he should be. These money managers think because they are successful in business they know sports. Meanwhile most of them haven’t played since Little League

  24. It’s tough to judge Rhule based on the results of this season. The team has been crippled by mid-season key injuries, most notably to their biggest star, McCaffery. When key injured players returned, then COVID protocols hit that hampered any possibility of recovery during the second half of the season.

    Now this is not to excuse Rhule for some dumb moves, such as attempting to re-build around two washed-up QB’s and firing his OC during the season. Also, based on the team that is now in place, I can’t imagine that Rhule’s results will be much better if he gets a 3rd season. However, firing Rhule and hiring someone new, while it might please some Panther fans, might not be the magic elixir they expect.

  25. I also heard that Ruhle has no idea how what Ice Fishing is so he’ll fit in perfect with the community in Minnesota as their new coach……

  26. It’s only year two…. This sounds like the owner is one of those types with no patience that never wins anything.

  27. Matt Rhule is a good guy and good coach. He builds a great culture. He just hasn’t had good enough QB play, and everyone knew that the Panthers were going through a rebuild. It looked like they were on the rise last year with Teddy Bridgewater, who was steady and accurate. Then they had too erratic QB play this year to be successful. Get the QB situation sorted and they should be on track again.

  28. Dont know much about carolina except the hc picked a qb that sucks and his replacement is worse
    This rhule guy is the same bad egotistical person just like mr im back

  29. Hedge fund managers are the scummy vultures of the business world so if he’s unhappy that is fantastic.

  30. Making money in a rigged market doesn’t make one smart. You don’t fail upwards in the NFL unlike a hedge fund.

  31. The NFL has been turning brilliant, wealthy men into babbling idiots for some time now. Mr. Tepper just happens to be next in line

  32. I watched Sam Darnoldv for three years with the Jets and thought he would be effective with a better team..Joe Brady seemed like s great hire..besides Bellicheck and Brady there are no sure things..they owe Darnold $19 million next year..Ruhle will he better in year 3 because NOW he has experience..Tepper paid hi money and took his chance and was wrong ..a team is built with draft and salary cap room..he can’t buy his way out of this mess

  33. Carolina is torn by its fans and its unrealistic expectations of a rebuilding season that started 3-0 against bad teams which in their minds they were primed to be top 10 by year’s end. Reality sits in along with injuries followed by the then famous Dennis Green quote “they are who we thought they were” games. Carolina hasn’t addressed the Offensive side of the ball in forever outside of CMC. They have been piecing an offensive line for years and it finally caught up to them. Cam’s phenom seasons are gone and left much to be desired here and we’ve yet to address that as well. It’s been rough but this team is by far the youngest in the league and it shows. Give the 3rd year, as statically it shows there should be a drastic improvement, if not cut bait and move on. I would like to see Snow’s DEF grow to be the beast it appears to be growing into.

  34. eaglemd says:
    January 1, 2022 at 1:50 pm
    Matt Rhule is a good guy and good coach. He builds a great culture. He just hasn’t had good enough QB play, and everyone knew that the Panthers were going through a rebuild. It looked like they were on the rise last year with Teddy Bridgewater, who was steady and accurate. Then they had too erratic QB play this year to be successful. Get the QB situation sorted and they should be on track again.

    ———————-
    That’s the NFL. Bill Belichek is not Bill Belichek without Tom Brady. Sean Peyton is not Sean Peyton without Drew Brees. Bruce Arians is a lot like Bill Belichek now that he has Tom Brady. A lot of good head coaches get fired because they don’t have a QB. A lot of bad head coaches win Super Bowls because they have a great QB

  35. markn12 says:
    January 1, 2022 at 11:31 am
    You have no franchise QB start with that.
    ——————————————————————————————————————
    I suppose you think it’s not Rhule’s fault for the QBs he brought in, nor the young underqualfied OC he hired and then fired.

  36. David Tepper made most of his billions by betting big on distressed stocks after a market crash (I.e. $5 for Bank of America and $1 for Citibank in 2009). He brought “Distressed” Panthers for mere $2.2B. He has never brought anything at the top of the market.

    Why he overpaid for Matt Rhule? Who knew! But it is eating him alive everyday.

  37. jg2040 says:
    That’s the NFL. Bill Belichek is not Bill Belichek without Tom Brady. Sean Peyton is not Sean Peyton without Drew Brees. Bruce Arians is a lot like Bill Belichek now that he has Tom Brady. A lot of good head coaches get fired because they don’t have a QB. A lot of bad head coaches win Super Bowls because they have a great QB

    And Pete Carrol is not Pete Carrol without Russel Wilson.

  38. in the predictable trashing of Sam Darnold, ar least one posting mentioned inaccuracy as a passer. As a huge fan of this great kid, I admit that he misses some easy throws. But let’s note that in one game, wide receivers alone dropped SEVEN well-thrown balls. and he should NEVER have been on the field a week after a brutal tackle left him with a concussion and a busted throwing shoulder.

  39. many folks don’t seem to understand Matt Rhule has complete Roster control
    general manager Scott Fitterer was hired to be Matt Rhule’s yes man & Yes all the QB changes in Carolina in 2 season was Matt Rhule’s doing & just like the OL he built it the way he wanted & he alone is at Fault

  40. @charliecharger…

    Saying Tampa won because of Tom Brady is an oversimplification. Sure, he had alot to do with it. Winning ways, culture, attitude, experience all rubs off on team mates and permeates the locker room.

    Tampa had one of, if not THE best Defense last year. TB Management recruited an All- Star team to Tampa to win it in 2020.
    A defense that held the great Pat Mahomes touchdown-less while recording a putrid QB rating in the SB of 52…Brady had nothing to do with that.

    KC and in particular, the so-called HOF HC, Andy Reid, had no plan to backfill the enormous hole left a LG Eric Fisher went down and did not play in the SB. Thats on Reid for not anticipating the impact of that weakness nor having a plan to rectify it. You’re in the GD Superbowl and he was too distracted by his son’s actions to execute his job well. Who can blame him, but in the end, it falls on Reid to fix that situation.

    Brady doesn’t win at least 3-4 New England SB’s were it not for the defense. There is ALOT more that goes into winning a SB than having a “Franchise” QB.

  41. Firing Brady wiped out perhaps the most viable in-house option to serve as the interim head coach.

    Even though Rhule never fully explained the reason, this statement might explain it. What does that say about someone who fires a good coach in an attempt to not get fired himself. That’s pretty low. Something tells me Rhule’s days in the NFL are numbered.

  42. To the comments about not having a QB, I agree, but that seems to be on Rhule as much as anyone. Rhule has near complete roster control, reportedly, at least. He brought in Bridgewater and dumped him after a year. He passed on Mac Jones and Jalen Hurts. He brought in Sam Darnold and then opted to not draft Rashawn Slater or another first round OT to protect him. The team is in desperate need of a franchise QB or all pro offensive line and Rhule has been unable to produce on either front. I think coaches need about 4 years to rebuild a roster, but so far Rhule has shown zero ability to evaluate talent. He dumped Denzel Perryman who made the 2021 pro bowl, touted CJ Henderson as a great CB who now plays 25% of defensive snaps, on a good day, for the Panthers. Chubba Hubbard has been ok but the team can’t move the ball without CMC on the field and that’s embarrassing. I hope Rhule improves but so far he’s shown that he can only win with CMC on the field.

  43. isheimfromcolfax says:
    January 1, 2022 at 11:30 am
    Well get the man a QB then. You’ve given him nothing to work with and that’s on you.

    ———-

    After the Panthers acquired Darnold, Rhule all but boasted to the press that he went to the GM and owner, pounded his fist on the desk, and said “Get me Sam Darnold.”

  44. Wait…you said he is BRILLIANT…and yet he GREATLY OVERPAID for a college coach with no Head Coaching experience in the NFL just so the Giants wouldn’t get him. Didn’t he drive to his house and throw the money at him!? How is that brilliant?

  45. News flash: hedge fund managers ( the types that led to the last financial crises), are not “brilliant”.

  46. In the NFL you need a great QB, healthy weapons for that QB and a great D. Carolina looked good at the beginning of the season, then CMC went down and it became clear that a decent QB won‘t look like a great great QB if your system depends on a player who can‘t be on the field.
    As a coach you won‘t look great if you don‘t have the players on the field that can make you look great.
    There are also no quick fixes.

  47. Having an all-world QB doesn’t guarantee superbowls…otherwise Dan Marino and Jim Kelly wouldn’t be ringless..

    Tepper overpaying for a coach is okay unless its for a COLLEGE coach, then not too bright.

  48. It could be worse, he could’ve been the idiot who hired Urban Meyer. It feels like as soon Urban realized that he couldn’t buy or recruit the best talent he mentally checked out.

  49. It’s not just all the money, it’s all the control, way in over his head, dump him, hire a good gm who hires the coach and KEEP your nose out of it unless you have to fire your gm,

  50. I’m sure a whole team of advisors helped him make that contractual decision…they are who he should be upset with.

  51. WATSON was Teppers franchise QB!!!!! He was lobbying hard to get him in Charlotte!!! But then we all know what came next with that debacle in Houston! Panthers settled on Darnold which I watched games this season where Sam put that ball right in the hands and numbers of those WR’s and they dropped the passes!!!! Robby Anderson comes to mind here!! Beside the OL being horrible and WR’s with butterfingers at times, its not all on Sam for poor play.
    But yes Tepper you overpaid for on Rhule and gave him too much control!!!

  52. A new owner came in guns blazing and wanted to make a splash to sell tickets and engergize things. Tepper gave a college coach with zero pro experience a ridiculous contract and sole roster control. Should he be surprised by the result? Did he really think the Panthers would be contending for a Super Bowl at this point? Ruhle has actually followed his boss’ model, by changing QB’s like he changes socks, by simply trying to make a ‘splash’ and think that’s going to magically make it all work. Bridgewater came and went, Darnold came and will likely go, Newten went…came back…and will go again. Should anyone, especially the owner, be the least bit surprised with the current state of the Panthers? Maybe in year 3 or 4 Ruhle really does get things moving in the right direction. The question is will Tepper have the patience needed to hold out long enough to see actual progress? Or has he suddenly figured out that Ruhle, in fact, doesn’t know what he’s doing at the pro level vs the college level. I can’t help but see this ending up not much different than the Chip Kelley experiment in Philadelphia.

  53. So, the billionaire feels embarrassed by spending 60 million plus on mediocrity? From this Lions fan: Boo Hoo Hoo.

  54. steelchampions says:
    January 1, 2022 at 8:34 pm
    A new owner came in guns blazing and wanted to make a splash to sell tickets and engergize things. Tepper gave a college coach with zero pro experience a ridiculous contract and sole roster control. Should he be surprised by the result? Did he really think the Panthers would be contending for a Super Bowl at this point? Ruhle has actually followed his boss’ model, by changing QB’s like he changes socks, by simply trying to make a ‘splash’ and think that’s going to magically make it all work. Bridgewater came and went, Darnold came and will likely go, Newten went…came back…and will go again. Should anyone, especially the owner, be the least bit surprised with the current state of the Panthers? Maybe in year 3 or 4 Ruhle really does get things moving in the right direction. The question is will Tepper have the patience needed to hold out long enough to see actual progress? Or has he suddenly figured out that Ruhle, in fact, doesn’t know what he’s doing at the pro level vs the college level. I can’t help but see this ending up not much different than the Chip Kelley experiment in Philadelphia.

    4 1 Rate This

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    Hmm, that formula seemed to work out ok for JJ and JJ in Dallas. That said, Jimmy was a highly decorated coach of what amounted to an NFL team playing at the D-1 level (Miami). He was coaching grown-a$$ men in kids bodies. Those ‘Canes teams could have beaten the bottom feeders in the NFL regularly back then. Ruhle by comparison can’t seem to lead a camel to water

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