Bills Inquire About Panthers Star Christian McCaffery, Steve Wilks Takes Over As Interim Head Coach

NFL: Carolina Panthers-Training Camp
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a tough day for the Carolina Panthers, as the team appears to be heading into full rebuild mode from the ground up. The Panthers fired their head coach Matt Rhule after a 1-4 start to begin the 2022 NFL season, but he was not the only one that was shown the door. Among those fired along with Rhule are defensive coordinator Phil Snow and assistant special teams coach Ed Foley. Snow is a longtime familiar of Rhule.

Panthers Owner David Tepper appeared on the NFL Network to discuss his reasonings of firing Rhule on Monday. “It was short, cordial, he’s a gentleman. A true gentleman,” Tepper said. Tepper also stated that part of the reason was due to a notable “loss of intensity” during Sunday’s home game against the San Francisco 49ers and believes Wilks has done an excellent job with the team and deserves an opportunity.

According to Panthers reporter Joe Person, assistant coach Steve Wilks will take over as interim head coach of the Panthers going forward. Wilks is a part of Brian Flores’ racial discrimination lawsuit against the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and the National Football League. Wilks did not provide much of an explanation when asked for his reasons of joining Flores in his suit.

“I’m all about change,” Wilks said. “And, I’ll leave it at that.” Panthers run game coordinator Al Holcomb will take over duties as defensive coordinator. The duo will have another opportunity in the league, as the two assumed these positions together when they were with the Arizona Cardinals. However, they will keep their options open until Wilks proves to be the right choice going forward.

“He’s in a position to be in consideration for that position,” Tepper said when speaking about Wilks. “I had a talk with Steve, no promises were made, but if he does an incredible job, he has to be in consideration. Steve is a leader of men. He has experience as a head coach, and I thought he’s the best candidate in the building for that role.””

Yahoo Sports has more HERE.

Former Saints Head Coach Sean Payton has reportedly been named as one potential option the Panthers could pursue, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. When guest speaking on The Herd w/ Colin Cowherd, Payton said that the Panthers head coaching job looked “attractive”.

Coaches may not be the only ones the Panthers lose. Jay Glazer believes that other football clubs “will now be calling the Panthers trying to trade for some of their players as they hope Carolina will look to stockpile picks as they rebuild.”

Panthers star running back Christian McCaffery may potentially be one of those players. Sports Anchor for the Buffalo Bills Dan Fetes reports that the team have reached to the Panthers, inquiring about McCaffery. McCaffery has been a very large part of the Panthers offense since being drafted 8th overall by the team in the 2017 NFL Draft. When McCaffery is not in the lineup, overall offensive production has suffered as well as their win total.

As a result, the running back cashed in on a four-year, $64 million contract-extension in 2020 to become one of the highest paid running back in the NFL. His contract comes with $30 million fully guaranteed and pays him approximately $16 million per year. McCaffery is does not become an unrestricted free-agent until 2026.

Read more about Matt Rhule being fired HERE.