Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera will remain with the team for the foreseeable future.
The organization announced Tuesday that they have reached an agreement on a three-year contract extension with Rivera that will keep him with the Panthers through the end of the 2017 season. It's a no-brain move for a team attempting to build on its first playoff berth in five years and a 12-4 record. Team owner Jerry Richarson fully endorsed the move, of course what exactly would he say?
"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," said Panthers Owner/Founder Jerry Richardson.
Rivera gets high marks for leading the team to a NFC South win in his third season, but now the hard work begins. The plan has always been to build sustained success, and the team must remain competitive in 2014. The Panthers need more offensive weapons and a revitalized secondary while also adding pieces to an offensive line that combined aging reliability with young mediocrity.
This is the first season is a while were major upheaval wasn't taking place. Carolina is picking at the back-end of the first round, while much of the team's focus will be on retaining the pieces currently in place rather than be splashy in free agency. Decisions need to be made on Jordan Gross long term, while it's unclear what Steve Smith's role will be with the Panthers -- all while Cam Newton is due for a long-term contract extension.
Outsiders will likely see the extension as a curious reward for one year of success, but it appears Rivera has finally gotten "it," now it will take more than gambling and fourth-and-short to keep this team afloat and the Panthers are betting he's the right man for the job.