The Carolina Panthers’ coaching search will pick up speed next week.
Candidates currently employed by NFL teams are not allowed to have in-person interviews until Tuesday. So, once that deadline passes, the Panthers will be able interview a handful of candidates that they’ve asked permission to speak with about the head coach position.
Here is the latest on the search, as of Saturday:
▪ Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots linebackers coach: The Panthers requested to speak with Mayo earlier this week. However, according to a league source, Mayo passed on the interview opportunity this weekend. The Patriots announced earlier in the week that the franchise was negotiating a contract extension with Mayo. Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston was the first report Mayo’s pass on an interview.
▪ Shane Steichen, Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator: The Panthers interviewed Steichen virtually on Saturday, a league source confirmed. The Eagles have a first-round bye in the playoffs, so Steichen was eligible for a virtual interview this weekend. He will not be able to interview in person with any team until the Eagles are eliminated from the playoffs or get a bye week before the Super Bowl.
▪ DeMeco Ryans, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator: The Panthers requested permission to interview Ryans earlier in the week. However, like with Mayo, that interview won’t take place. A league source said logistical reasons were a factor. The source also said there is a chance that both parties circle back for an interview later in the process.
With the Ryans and Mayo interviews falling through, it’s important to note that the Panthers need to interview two external minority candidates in person before making an official offer as part of the league’s Rooney Rule.
▪ Frank Reich, former Indianapolis Colts head coach: Reich interviewed with the Panthers in person on Wednesday, a league source confirmed. Reich was eligible for an in-person interview because he was fired by the Colts during the season.
▪ Steve Wilks, interim head coach: Wilks interviewed with Panthers executives on Tuesday. Wilks went 6-6 during his 12-game stint as interim head coach after replacing Matt Rhule (11-27).
▪ Jim Caldwell, former Detroit Lions head coach: Caldwell interviewed with the Panthers on Monday. Caldwell has not coached in the NFL since 2019 and turns 68 next week. Caldwell’s interview meets the criteria for one of the two external minority candidate considerations in the Rooney Rule.
▪ Ben Johnson, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator: The Panthers will interview the North Carolina and Reynolds High School (Asheville) graduate on Wednesday, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Johnson completed a virtual interview with the Colts on Friday.
▪ Ken Dorsey, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator: The Panthers requested to interview Dorsey earlier in the week. Dorsey wasn’t eligible to interview virtually this week because his team had a wild-card round game.
▪ Kellen Moore, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator: The Panthers requested to interview Moore earlier in the week. Moore wasn’t eligible to interview virtually this week because his team had a wild-card round game.
▪ Mike Kafka, New York Giants offensive coordinator: The Panthers requested to interview Kafka earlier in the week. Kafka wasn’t eligible to interview virtually this week because his team had a wild-card round game.