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Will Panthers owner recruit Jim Harbaugh to be their next head coach?

We go over the head-coaching options for Carolina and assess which candidate makes the most sense.

Purdue v Michigan Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers fired head coach Frank Reich after the team’s Week 12 loss to the Titans. The Panthers have gone 1-10 so far this season without a first round pick on the horizon for 2024. We take a look at some potential candidates for the job opening in Carolina.

Possible candidates

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan head coach

Harbaugh has been the subject of NFL hiring rumors in just about every Michigan offseason. Could this be the one where he finally goes? He’s likely looking to get out from under the sign-stealing investigation and any further sanctions stemming from that, and he reportedly called Panthers owner David Tepper in 2022 when the franchise was searching for a new head coach.

The interest was certainly there from Harbaugh’s camp last year, but are the Panthers just as interested?

Ben Johnson, Lions OC

Johnson is on the younger end at 37 years old, but has done a fantastic job as the Lions offensive coordinator over the last two seasons. Detroit has turned things around in his time as OC, and the team notched their first 8-2 start to a season since 1962. As the Panthers take their investment into Bryce Young into consideration, an offensive mind like this could be a priority.

Mike Macdonald, Ravens DC

Macdonald, who served as Michigan’s DC in 2021 before taking on the same role in Baltimore in 2022, is also on the younger end here at 36 years old. Macdonald’s Ravens defenses have been incredibly successful and currently lead the league in fewest yards allowed per pass attempt. They also rank second in fewest yards allowed per game.