The Carolina Panthers are going to offer Ron Rivera a new contract. They're going to tie Rivera, Carolina's head coach, to the team for several years.
What else can they do?
Former Carolina general manager Marty Hurney hired Rivera. Hurney saw qualities the teams that interviewed Rivera, but did not offer him a job, failed to.
Rivera was not a particularly good coach his first two seasons. He learned on the job, which is what most first-time head coaches do. Regardless of your profession, didn't you learn after you were promoted? Rare is the woman or man who comes to a new position fully formed.
No matter how poorly the Panthers started Rivera's first two seasons, players stuck with him. He's a former player and that earned some credibility. He also is candid and honest. He doesn't make promises he can't keep. The promises he makes, he keeps. That earned more.
After going 6-10 and 7-9 is first two seasons Rivera went 12-4. His first season also was the first season for quarterback Cam Newton. There's a sense that all of them, Rivera and Newton, under the guise of general manager Dave Gettleman, are growing together.
The Panthers can't let Rivera go into the final season of his contract dangling. If the Panthers don't sign him, the stablity that helped Carolina go 12-4 becomes shaky. Will he stay or will he go will become a theme. And it's not a good one.
Many of us like new. And some of us are hung up on celebrity coaches.
But the best franchises are the nost stable. Find your coach and commit. The Panthers did that with John Fox and it worked until the relationship wore out from both ends.
When you get the right guy, you make sure he knows it. The Panthers will.