NFL Notes: Tua Tagovailoa, Cam Newton, Panthers Coaching Search


Tua Tagovailoa

Heading into this season, Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa was seen as a surefire No. 1 overall pick, as evidenced by the “Tank for Tua” mantra that was popular in Miami. However, when Tagovailoa dislocated his hip a few weeks ago, it threw a wrench into all of that. Now Tagovailoa is discussing whether to declare for the draft and risk falling amid concerns about his health, or trying to come back for his senior season and prove to the NFL he’s healthy. 

“You think of risk-reward on coming back. You think of risk-reward on leaving,” Tagovailoa said in an interview with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit. “And when I look at it, I kind of look at it, if I come back, the risk is what if I get hurt again? But the reward could be maybe I jump back to the top of the charts, the boards for all these teams.”

As the No. 1 pick this year, which appears unlikely now, Tagovailoa’s signing bonus would have been more than $22 million. Dropping even to 10th overall cuts the signing bonus in half, with the signing bonus dropping as low as $5 million at the end of the first round. Tagovailoa will have to balance how far he thinks his injury could push him down draft boards this year against the risk of injury and losing a year of NFL earning potential by staying until 2021.

“I’d say the reward in all of that is, yeah, I’ll be getting paid millions,” Tagovailoa said. “But a lot of the money that I could’ve made, you can’t make that money up now. So that’d be me leaving money on the table. But then, at the same time, I still gotta talk with my family about all this, see what their input is. Now is not the time to be making emotional decisions. But now you gotta change into thinking as a businessman. You gotta make business decisions.”

Cam Newton

  • According to the Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, Panthers QB Cam Newton is undergoing a “relatively simple” procedure on the Lisfranc area in his left foot which could mean a shorter recovery time. 

Panthers Coaching Search

Panthers owner David Tepper will make his first head coaching hire since buying the team two seasons ago. While there’s no history to look back on for Tepper as a brand-new NFL owner, the qualities he laid out in his comments on Tuesday suggest he’ll be leaning toward an offensive-minded, analytically-proficient candidate as opposed to hiring another defensive coach like former HC Ron Rivera

“In the modern NFL, I think there is a preference for offensive coordinators. I think there are reasons for that,” Tepper said via the team’s website. “That does not mean that if you find somebody fantastic on the defensive side, I won’t consider it. If he has old-school discipline and modern and innovative processes. The question is if you can have a defensive guy that has that too. He may think the offensive coaches have that more, and then it’s how that gets implemented. The NFL has made rules to lean to the offense. That’s why you’re having more people go that way.”

Tepper added that he wouldn’t rule out college coaches for Carolina’s head coaching vacancy, but acknowledged transitioning from college to the NFL added another layer of difficulty to an already hard job. 

“I understand the difficulty of that transition. But that doesn’t mean I’m closing it off,” said Tepper, via Max Henson.

  • The Athletic’s Joseph Person mentions Ravens OC Greg Roman, Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, Bills OC Brian Daboll, Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski, Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, former Packers HC Mike McCarthy, 49ers DC Robert Saleh and Oklahoma HC Lincoln Riley as potential candidates for the Panthers head coaching job.
  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport notes Tepper won’t use a search firm to find the next head coach. 
  • Ben Volin points out that the Panthers were interested in McDaniels and director of player personnel Nick Caserio prior to retaining Rivera and GM Marty Hurney last year.
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