Sources: Cheetahs hire Buccaneers Dave Canales as coach

CHARLOTTE, NC – The Carolina Panthers plan to hire Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales as their new head coach, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

“It will come to pass,” a source told Schefter on Thursday.

The length of Canales' contract and other details have yet to be worked out, a league source told ESPN.

The Panthers hope the 42-year-old Canales can do for Bryce Young what he did for quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield.

Canales had his second interview with the Panthers on Wednesday in Charlotte, where he met with team owner David Tepper, new general manager Dan Morgan and others on the search committee.

Morgan spent eight years with Canales on the Seattle Seahawks' staff from 2010 to 2017, when he was the Seahawks' wide receivers coach from 2010 to 2017. Familiarity with Morgan and being a disciple of former Seattle head coach Pete Carroll was also a factor.

Canales, who started with Carroll as USC's strength and conditioning coach in 2009, followed him to Seattle.

Canales was the Seahawks' passing game coordinator in 2020 when Wilson passed for 4,212 yards with 40 touchdowns and a 68.8 completion percentage.

As the quarterback coach for Seattle in 2022, Smith passed for 4,282 yards and 30 touchdowns with a 69.8 completion percentage.

Mayfield, who spent the previous season with the Panthers, was the offensive coordinator at Tampa Bay last season when he had 4,044 yards, 28 touchdowns and a 64.3 completion percentage.

Young will be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft, statistically leading a quarterback in NFL history.

The Panthers went 2-14 in Young's 16 starts (he missed one game with an ankle injury), passing for 11 touchdowns to 10 interceptions with a 59.8 completion percentage. His total QBR (33.3) ranked 29th among 30 qualified quarterbacks, better than only Zach Wilson of the New York Jets at 30.5.

Canales has a Carolina team that had an NFL-worst 2-15 record in 2023 and six straight losing seasons since Tepper bought the team in 2018.

The Panthers entered the search with Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, according to a league source. But even though Johnson is a Carolina native, multiple sources said he prefers at least one other team, the Washington Commanders, over Carolina.

Johnson won't be available for an in-person interview until after Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers.

ESPN's Jenna Line contributed to this report.

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