Rivera says the Redskins called Tuesday to ask permission to speak with McDermott.
NFL rules mandate interviews with assistant coaches on a bye week must be conducted before the conclusion of the wild-card games. The Panthers (12-4) have a first-round bye.
The Redskins are looking to replace Mike Shanahan, fired Monday after a 3-13 season. Shanahan was 24-40 in four seasons.
McDermott, 39, joined the Panthers in 2011. His defense allowed the second-fewest points in the NFL and had a league-high 60 sacks.
Rivera says McDermott ''has done a great job as coordinator, and his body of work speaks for itself.''
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