Head coach Matt Rhule of the Carolina Panthers walks onto the field before the preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Matt Rhule is a Sneaky Genius for Getting Fired by the Carolina Panthers

Following a 37-15 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and an overall record of 11-27, Matt Rhule was relieved of his duties as the head coach of the Carolina Panthers. 

Not only was he fired, but he lost his job three years into a seven-year deal worth a total of $62 million. 

So what does that mean exactly?

If Rhule wants, he could put his feet up for the next few years and collect $40 million from the Panthers.

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Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule looks on from the sidelines.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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Being an excellent college coach and then being hired for an NFL job is usually a losing equation

Did Rhule know this coming into his job with the Panthers after signing a deal worth far more than what he was worth? Maybe. And if he did, he's a sneaky genius.  

There's a minuscule chance he did this by design, but regardless — if I were Rhule, I'd take the rest of 2022 to enjoy the monthly check of $834,000 and do whatever I want.

Rhule's college coaching resume should be rich enough to get one of the many college football job openings with relative ease. 

There's a type of coach who does well in college, and then there's a type of coach who does well in the NFL. Rarely are those two coaches the same, so seeing Rhule fail in the NFL isn't that surprising.

It was seen with Urban Meyer, and it will continue to be seen with teams that want to take a risk on their next head coach hire by dipping into college football. 

And while it stinks to be fired from your job no matter what it is, Rhule won't be out of a job for too long. Plenty of teams will be lining up to bring him into their college program. 

And David Tepper, the Panthers' general manager, is praying Rhule finds a college home — because if he does, the Panthers will essentially be paid back for what they offered Rhule.

That's right, all Rhule has to do is keep his headset off for the next four years, and he'll make $40 million.

NFL Insider Ian Rapoport clarified his understanding on Twitter, saying "Carolina is on the hook for this season, but the salaries for the ensuing seasons are offset by what his future college job pays him. Rhule gets all $40M, but Panthers likely only pay this year of it."

So, while the Panthers head back to the coaching carousel, Rhule will spend the next few months practicing a very important aspect of coaching: his spitting techniques

As long as he can be the college coach he was before his failure as an NFL experiment, things are on the up-and-up for Rhule. 

He'll be $40 million richer, and hopefully one smock cleaner, if not more. 

It's a win-win for a head coach who couldn't win much in the NFL, and Rhule might come out of this as the real winner: a sneaky genius.

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