Ian Rapoport reports that current Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has “zeroed in” on David Tepper as the best candidate to purchase the franchise.
Rapoport adds that while a deal is not done, they’re working towards a deal with Tepper, who is the sole focus.
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David Newton of ESPN reports that Steelers minority owner David Tepper is now considered the leading candidate to be recommended as the next owner of the Panthers.
According to Newton, Ben Navarro, who was once considered a primary contender to buy the Panthers’ franchise, has been told the sale is moving quickly in the direction of another candidate.
Newton says that an announcement could come as soon as Monday or Tuesday.
All of this fits with what Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports mentioned earlier in the day,
La Canfora said he would be shocked if Tepper is not the winning bidder for the Panthers franchise.
According to La Canfora, there are “significant and lingering questions” about the other ownership groups bidding on the Panthers.
One aspect that helps Tepper’s bid for the team is the fact that he’s the only person involved in this process who is essentially already fully vetted and could be approved by the full ownership at the May (21-23) meeting.
La Canfora adds that Tepper is unlikely to spend more than $2.1-$2.2 billion for the Panthers, but it’s possible the NFL could include a clause that would force him to pay an additional $200-$300M should he move the team within a certain time frame, which would get them to the $2.4-$2.5 billion range.
As for the talk of Peyton Manning possibly joining Navarro’s ownership group, La Canfora says he hasn’t spoken to anyone who believes he’ll actually do this.
We’ll have more regarding the Panthers as the news is available.