When the news broke this past Saturday that Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson had decided to retain head coach Ron Rivera for a third year, the focus for many Panthers fans turned to the search for a new general manager.
Of course, Richardson’s bold decision to keep Rivera didn’t come without controversy. Many felt his decision came too late, keeping Rivera in limbo for almost a week, while others believe the decision was made prematurely since the Panthers currently do not have full-on GM in place.
However, the Panthers are expected to announce the hiring of a new GM shortly, if not before the end of the week with interviews for the opening starting Tuesday.
Plenty of names have been tossed around for the job, but one name sticks out for one obvious reason.
The Panthers interviewed Marc Ross today, who currently serves as the director of college scouting for the New York Giants and his name has risen this offseason given the abundant amount of openings (seven) for general manager positions around the NFL.
Ross has become highly respected around the league and the consensus feeling is that now is his time to take the reigns as a GM.
There is no doubt that Ross would have an immediate impact on the Panthers, especially during this crucial time in preparing for April’s NFL Draft. However, the most important aspect of a Ross hire would be his familiarity with Rivera. Ross was working in Philadelphia as the Eagles director of college scouting when Rivera was there as the team’s linebackers coach.
The fate of the head coach is usually decided by an incoming GM. Instead, Carolina made their bed before hiring a new GM, so it would seem important for an incoming GM to have some kind of familiarity with the current head coach.
The Panthers will certainly have to make their GM vacancy stand-out above all because Ross is in high-demand. That could mean that Richardson might have to promise in writing to stay out of the way when it comes to personnel decisions for Ross to take the job.
Panthers fans should be excited about the possibility of Ross coming to Carolina. Not only is he highly talented at evaluating players, but his familiarity with Rivera makes him a perfect fit.
Robert Kester, Rant Sports Carolina Panthers Columnist. Contact @robertkester1