The Carolina Panthers rewarded head coach Ron Rivera with a three-year contract extension on Jan. 28.
Max Henson of the Panthers’ official website offers more details about the development:
“Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has signed a three-year contract extension through the 2017 season.
“In 2013, his third year as Panthers head coach, Rivera led Carolina to 12 wins, the NFC South division title and the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2008.
“Despite starting the season with a 1-3 record, the Panthers went on to win 11 of their final 12 regular-season games — including a franchise record eight-game winning streak — to secure the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye.”
The deal is said to be worth between $4 and $5 million annually plus playoff incentives, according to NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling, citing his colleague and NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.
Wesseling also notes the 2014 season would have been Rivera’s last and that he had been receiving “just under $3 million per season.”
His old, four-year deal was worth $11.2 million collectively, per ESPN’s David Newton.
Panthers founder and owner Jerry Richardson told Henson securing an extension for Rivera is a way of ensuring the foundation which he has been building continues to grow. He said,”The improvement of our team has been reflected in the progress of the record over the last three seasons under Ron, and we look forward to building upon that foundation.”
For his part, Rivera, dubbed “Riverboat Ron,” appreciated the gesture and praised the collective effort of the Panthers organization for the success they are enjoying.
“I have been very clear about how much I have enjoyed living in Charlotte and working for his organization. I very much appreciate the support and confidence Mr. Richardson and (general manager) Dave Gettleman have shown in me and our staff.
“Any success we have enjoyed is the result of a team effort by players, coaches, scouts and the entire organization, and our ultimate goal remains winning the Super Bowl.”
The Charlotte Observer’s Jonathan Jones explains why locking up Rivera had to be done before any of the Panthers players:
“First, the money the Panthers pay Rivera does not count against the salary cap, so it’s one problem that can be taken cared of before having to finesse the cap.
“Secondly, Gettleman will spend the next two weeks or so meeting with players and arranging what the Panthers will look like in 2014. With a coach that has job security through the next presidential election rather than one entering a lame-duck season, free agents could potentially find Carolina as a better option because of its head coaching stability.”
Jones also confirms Rivera is a top candidate for the NFL Coach of the Year Award which will be announced on Feb. 1.
In his three seasons with the Panthers, Rivera has amassed a 25-23 (.521) win-loss record, per Pro-Football-Reference.com.