The Carolina Panthers fired offensive coordinator Joe Brady at the beginning of December and empowered senior offensive assistant Jeff Nixon to call the plays. The plan was always to bring in a new offensive coordinator during the offseason and there are now some names attached to that vacancy. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Carolina is targeting Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien and former Washington Football Team head coach Jay Gruden.
Various reports had already indicated head coach Matt Rhule will return for the 2022 season. With a 5-11 record and one game remaining against Tampa Bay, the Panthers hold the No. 6 overall selection in the upcoming NFL Draft.
O'Brien is in his first season as offensive coordinator with Alabama. In seven seasons as head coach with the Texans, he compiled a 54-52 record. Previously, he served as head coach at Penn State and offensive coordinator for the Patriots.
Gruden compiled a 35-50-1 record in six seasons as head coach of Washington. He also served as offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals and, more recently, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Urban Meyer brought in his own offensive coordinator upon taking that job.
Football Outsiders ranks the Panthers offense No. 30 in the entire NFL.
The offensive line will be a priority this offseason, in addition to finding a long-term solution at quarterback. Wide receivers Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore and Terrace Marshall are all under contract for next season. Tight end Ian Thomas is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent but the team did use a Day 2 draft choice on Notre Dame's Tommy Tremble last year.