Former Panthers head coach Matt Rhule filed an arbitration lawsuit last week against the franchise.

Former Panthers head coach Matt Rhule filed an arbitration lawsuit last week against the franchise.

Former carolina panthers Head coach Matt Rhule filed an arbitration lawsuit last week against the franchise, sources told CBS Sports. The lawsuit claims the Panthers are refusing to pay Rhule’s severance pay following his firing from Carolina and subsequent hiring of him at the University of Nebraska.

In the lawsuit, which was filed with the NFL on January 25, Rhule seeks compensation money he claims the Panthers owe him. According to sources, the lawsuit does not specifically allege how much money Rhule is seeking, but the terms of the contract indicate there is approximately $5 million in dispute.

Labor attorney John Singer filed the lawsuit on Rhule’s behalf with the league office. When contacted for comment, Singer said: “We have no comment.”

A Panthers spokesman declined to comment Tuesday. The NFL also declined to comment.

Almost all disputes between NFL coaches and teams go to arbitration, under the terms of their contracts. The NFL can appoint an arbitrator to hear the dispute, or it can send the case to JAMS, a commercial arbitration firm the league uses regularly.

In January 2020, Rhule signed a seven-year contract worth more than $60 million that would pay him an annual base salary of $8.5 million through the 2026 NFL season.

On October 10, 2022, just five weeks into Rhule’s third season with the Panthers, team owner David Tepper fired Rhule. He went 11-27 as Carolina’s head coach, including a 1-4 start to the season, failing to secure a franchise quarterback in his nearly three years there.

Around Thanksgiving 2022, Rhule accepted the offer to become Nebraska’s next head coach, hoping to turn around the Cornhuskers’ fortunes as he had done at Temple and Baylor before jumping to the NFL.

Rhule signed an eight-year contract with Nebraska that pays $74 million in base salary along with an additional $4 million in deferred salary if he remains employed at the school through multiple award dates.

While Rhule’s contract with Carolina had a constant base salary of $8.5 million each year, Nebraska’s contract increases each year, from $5.5 million in the first year to $12.5 million in the final year of the deal.

According to a source, the Panthers will argue that Rhule’s Nebraska contract violates the league’s anti-manipulation policy. Section 3, Article D of the policy under “NEW/REASONABLE CLUB CONTRACT” states:

“If the contract with the new club includes a substantial salary increase in the new contract years, the Commissioner will use the following as a guide to determine the reasonableness of those increases: (i) if annual compensation is scheduled to increase by 20 percent or more for new contract years, the previous club’s annual compensation, if that club is entitled to compensation, shall be calculated based on the employee’s average annual compensation over the entire contract term.”

The argument is that Rhule’s Nebraska contract has an unreasonable increase of more than 20 percent when deferred salary and other benefits are taken into account. Although the league’s anti-manipulation policy makes no reference to college coaching jobs, the policy also makes no explicit distinction about what “club” means.

A conclusion to the arbitration claim is due to be reached in the coming weeks, according to a source.

It’s unclear how much money the Panthers have paid Rhule up to this point, but from Feb. 1, 2023 through Jan. 31, 2027, he was owed a base salary of $34 million. Rhule’s Nebraska contract pays him a total of $29 million (base salary plus $1 million in deferred compensation) from his November 2022 start date through December 31, 2026. Using those date ranges, you can estimate a difference of about $5 million in salary between the two contracts that last nearly the same amount of time.

This isn’t the first contract dispute Panthers owner David Tepper has faced. Last March, Tepper’s real estate company halted construction on the $800 million team headquarters and practice facility in Rock Hill, South Carolina, following disputes over the bond issue for the project.

The real estate company, GT Real Estate Holdings, filed for bankruptcy in the summer. In December, a federal judge approved a $101 million settlement that end a saga that began in 2018. According to the Associated PressTepper’s real estate company had to pay $60 million to contractors, $21 million to the county, and another $20 million to Rock Hill.

On Tuesday, the Panthers introduced new head coach Frank Reich, who reportedly signed a four-year deal with Carolina.

Tepper fielded questions from local reporters after the introductory news conference, calling the process used to hire Rhule a “mistake.”

“I made this mistake,” Tepper said. “I think it’s a mistake to have a CEO-type head coach. Is that okay? That’s a mistake, in general. That’s what I think. So I think you want to have someone who is really good attacking or really good attacking. defending”. .”

This story has been updated with additional sources.

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