HomeSportsPanthers reportedly close to hiring Bucs OC Dave Canales as head coach

Panthers reportedly close to hiring Bucs OC Dave Canales as head coach

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Dave Canales, who impressed in his first season as Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator, is making an even bigger leap, as the Carolina Panthers are closing in on a deal to make him their next head coach.

Canales, 42, spent 14 years with the Seahawks before coming to Tampa, and that time included an overlap of eight seasons with new Panthers general manager Dan Morgan. The two were small pieces of Seattle’s Super Bowl championship team in 2013, and now will be reunited in Carolina’s rebranding.

No official announcement has been made, but a league source confirmed a deal was close. A top priority for Carolina in its search for a new coach is developing quarterback Bryce Young, who struggled as a rookie after being taken with the No. 1 overall pick. Canales has had two successful reclamation projects in the last two years, working closely with Geno Smith in Seattle in 2022 and with Baker Mayfield in his strong comeback season in Tampa.

The Panthers fired Frank Reich after 11 games this season, and owner David Tepper has fired three coaches in midseason in his six years as owner. That, combined with Carolina’s 2-15 record and the lack of a first-round pick, might have limited the Panthers’ options for a new coach. Canales had not interviewed with any other teams, and was in his first year as a coordinator and playcaller with the Bucs.

Canales brought an energy and positivity to the Bucs’ coaching staff, helping them win a third straight division title and a playoff game against the Eagles, exceeding expectations in their first year without quarterback Tom Brady.

Canales’ departure from the Bucs might make it harder for Tampa Bay to re-sign Mayfield, a free agent who had thrived in Canales’ offense this past season. The Bucs should be in better position to hire an outside offensive coordinator now than they were a year ago, when they had very limited cap room and no known answer at QB post-Brady. They need to find the right hire to help keep Mayfield and receiver Mike Evans wanting to return to Tampa.

Greg Auman is FOX Sports’ NFC South reporter, covering the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He is in his 10th season covering the Bucs and the NFL full-time, having spent time at the Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic. You can follow him on Twitter at @gregauman.


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