Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Panthers owner David Tepper said he wants his next head coach to last “20 or 30 years.” And now he’s found the man for the job, with plans to hire Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales, according to CBS Sports Lead NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.

Canales, 42, impressed Tepper and Panthers brass with an in-person interview Wednesday, per Jones, and Carolina has zeroed in on the longtime Seahawks assistant for its top job.

The decision comes a day after former Titans coach Mike Vrabel was linked to the Panthers’ vacancy, and amid a widespread search that included interviews with other top candidates like Lions OC Ben Johnson and Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. It also reunites Canales with new Panthers general manager Dan Morgan, recently promoted from an assistant GM role, as the two worked together from 2010-2017 with the Seahawks.

A native of Harbor City, California, Canales was a first-time OC in 2023, overseeing a career revival from quarterback Baker Mayfield and helping the Buccaneers win a third straight NFC South title to advance to the playoffs, where they upset the defending NFC champion Eagles in the wild-card round. Prior to that, Canales spent 13 years with the Seahawks, first as wide receivers coach (2010-2017), then as quarterbacks coach (2018-2019, 2022) and passing game coordinator (2020-2021).

During his time in Seattle under longtime coach Pete Carroll, Canales worked directly with nine-time Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson, who posted some of his best numbers during Canales’ run as passing game coordinator. In Carolina, he’ll be tasked with helping 2023 No. 1 pick Bryce Young, whose rookie-year struggles reportedly fueled previous coach Frank Reich’s in-season dismissal.

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