The NFL is a pressure-filled business by nature, but some teams will be feeling it more than others in 2022.
As former Houston Oilers coach Jerry Glanville once famously said, the NFL stands for “Not For Long.” While he was berating an official at the time, the saying rings true for players, coaches and front-office executives.
This offseason, we’ve seen teams move on from quarterbacks, coaches, general managers and several league stars. Projecting forward a year, there are some who probably have just one season to prove themselves before they too are on the chopping block.
Whether it’s the front office, coaching staff or stars who will be on the hot seat, these teams are facing make-or-break seasons in 2022.
In 2020, Carolina took a big swing on luring head coach Matt Rhule from Baylor to turn the Panthers into a winner. They handed him a lucrative seven-year contract worth at least $60 million.
Two years into that contract, it’s looking like a shaky bet that he’ll wind up lasting the entire pact. The past two seasons have yielded five-win campaigns and a top-10 pick in consecutive drafts.
Joseph Person of The Athletic reported team owner David Tepper is “unhappy and embarrassed” by the pact they signed with the coach.
General manager Scott Fitterer isn’t blameless, either. He’s only been in the position for a year, but he was part of the decision to trade for Sam Darnold. Bringing in the former Jets quarterback was questionable at the time and looks even worse now.
Darnold went 4-7 in 11 starts and threw more interceptions (13) than touchdowns (nine) for the second consecutive season.
Yet, Fitterer has called Darnold the “No. 1 guy right now,” per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The Panthers’ only investment at quarterback this offseason was taking Ole Miss signal-caller Matt Corral in the third round of the draft.
That leaves Rhule and Fitterer depending on either Darnold or Corral to show the pairing can get the franchise going in the right direction.
If the Panthers don’t show marked improvement in 2022, it should spell the end for Rhule—and Fitterer should feel uncomfortable as well.