Panthers not expecting football shakeup under David Tepper

Darin Gantt
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

The Panthers are about to undergo some changes. It doesn’t appear those are going to touch the football side, at least in the short-term.

Multiple sources said that during the process of buying the Panthers for $2.2 billion, soon-to-be owner David Tepper told people involved that one of the things he liked about the purchase was the relative stability of their football operation, suggesting he’s not looking to make immediate changes there.

Coupled with his background in the Steelers organization (where he was a minority partner), that’s a good sign for the futures of coach Ron Rivera and General Manager Marty Hurney.

If Tepper continues with the Steelers way of doing business (which Panthers founder Jerry Richardson tried to emulate himself), a quick trigger shouldn’t be expected. The Steelers have had three head coaches since 1969, and the only reason they’ve had four G.M.s is that late owner Dan Rooney held that post in 1969 and 1970, before passing personnel control to Dick Haley, then Tom Donahoe and then Kevin Colbert.

While no promises have been made (and everything could change based on this year’s results), Tepper has met with Hurney and Rivera, and seems comfortable with them according to people informed of the process.

Both are under contract through the 2020 season (along with quarterback Cam Newton, while middle linebacker Luke Kuechly‘s deal runs through 2021), giving the Panthers a solid core of leadership.

The Panthers have made the playoffs four of the past five seasons. And even though they’ve never had back-to-back winning seasons, they have a 192-192-1 record in 23 years (including playoffs).

Other changes throughout the organization seem likely, especially in the wake of the investigation into Richardson’s workplace misconduct and the non-disclosure agreements signed by the team with several former employees. Tina Becker, the chief operating officer installed by Richardson as he stepped away, wanted to make more changes, but was prevented from doing so for fear of impacting the sale process. To describe her future role as tenuous seems generous, and changes throughout the business operation are expected among those inside the building and familiar with the sale.

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