The Panthers are effectively a Cam Newton away from a total rebuild, and the team’s owner sounds like he wants to brace his customers for exactly that.
Via WCNC, David Tepper sent a letter to Panthers PSL owners which outlined what he keeps referring to as a long process back to respectability.
“Understand this. I am laser-focused on building a championship organization on and off the field,” the letter read. “It takes time to build things up the right way, and sometimes you have to do a little tearing down before moving forward. The changes we made in early January are the first steps and I could not be more excited about our future.
“Matt Rhule and his staff are working hard preparing for the 2020 season. He is a master developer and builder who was shown what he can do. Look at his history. He constructed winning programs at Temple and Baylor and he will build an elite program here.
“We promise that we will work tirelessly each day to bring you a championship because that’s what this region deserves, that’s what the players in the locker room deserve, and that’s what our fans deserve. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen — and I look forward to you joining us on this ride.”
In addition to firing coach Ron Rivera before the end of the season and replacing him with a college coach and a staff with next-to-no NFL experience, the Panthers are churning a roster.
The Panthers have already said goodbye to star middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (retirement) and tight end Greg Olsen (Seahawks) this offseason, and Newton seems very available if someone wants to make an offer. Coupled with a long list of free agents which include cornerback James Bradberry, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, safety Tre Boston, defensive end Mario Addison, and defensive tackle Vernon Butler, they’re on the verge of a total turnover on defense.
While you could make a case that an offense with a healthy Newton, running back Christian McCaffrey, and wide receiver D.J. Moore could be competitive with a little help, there’s so much work to be done on the other side of the ball that Tepper’s taking care to set expectations low.