CHARLOTTE, NC (Jourdan Rodrigue and Joseph Person/ The Charlotte Observer) The Carolina Panthers are making a move to provide some much-needed stability to a franchise rocked by allegations of workplace misconduct by owner Jerry Richardson.
The team is finalizing a two-year contract extension for head coach Ron Rivera, multiple sources told the Observer on Saturday morning.
The two-year extension would be worth $15.5 million and go through the 2020 season, according to one of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract has not been executed.
The deal is expected to be finalized before the Panthers' NFC wild-card game at New Orleans on Sunday, and could be announced Saturday.
The deal would also be the first move by Tina Becker as chief operating officer of the team. Becker was promoted to the position after Richardson stepped away from daily duties last month.
Richardson announced in December he would sell the Panthers when the season concludes, following a Sports Illustrated report of sexual and racial misconduct.
By locking Rivera up now, the Panthers avoid a lame-duck coaching scenario in what already will be a major transitional year for the organization.
Rivera, who turns 56 on Sunday, has the Panthers (11-5) back in the playoffs for the fourth time in the past five seasons. The former defensive coordinator for Chicago and San Diego guided the Panthers to a 15-1 regular-season record and the club's second Super Bowl appearance two years ago.
Rivera was hired in 2011 after John Fox went 2-14 as a lame-duck coach in 2010. Rivera has a 64-47-1 record in seven years and was named the AP Coach of the Year after the 2013 and '15 seasons.
In 2016, Rivera signed a three-year, $19.5 million extension through 2018.
Asked Friday about a possible contract extension, Rivera said: "I think the biggest thing is everything that needs to happen or is going to happen will happen in time. What's decided, we'll see."