Carolina has its rock star.
The Panthers officially hired Ben McAdoo as their offensive coordinator, the team announced Monday.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported news of the impending hire on Jan. 21.
McAdoo is back in the NFL after spending a year out of football, joining a Panthers team that has questions to answer at quarterback, but also features a cast of talented playmakers headlined by running back Christian McCaffrey. Receivers D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson and promising wideout Terrace Marshall are also part of the weapons available to the Panthers, as well as young tight end Tommy Tremble.
Carolina fired a former rock-star coordinator in Joe Brady during the 2021 season after the Panthers' offense devolved from an adequate unit to one that struggled to do much of anything. As the quarterback position became a revolving door (featuring Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker and Cam Newton), Carolina lost its way with the football, and Brady was chosen as the scapegoat.
Interim replacement Jeff Nixon didn't fare any better even after Darnold returned, and Carolina lost each of its final five games with Nixon calling plays.
McAdoo arrives with two years experience as an offensive coordinator and head coach with the Giants. He was the Giants' OC from 2014-15 and then took over as New York head coach ahead of the 2016 season and was let go during the 2017 campaign. He returned to the NFL coaching ranks in 2020 as the Jaguars QB coach and spent this past season working as a consult for the Cowboys.
Now McAdoo is back as an offensive coordinator, and will hope to turn around Carolina's struggling offense. He'd receive a massive assist from the healthy return of McCaffrey, who has significantly improved Carolina's offense when available.
It's been proven just how valuable McCaffrey is when he's been unable to play, a reality that has been too frequent in the last two seasons.
But first, McAdoo and head coach Matt Rhule will have to figure out what to do under center. Darnold and Walker are both under contract for 2022, and it's realistic to expect the Panthers to at least entertain keeping Darnold for the upcoming season considering they already picked up his guaranteed fifth-year option ahead of the 2021 season ($18.858 million). He'll have to be better, though, in order for the Panthers to improve upon a 5-12 season.
McAdoo will have a hand in attempting to turn the Panthers into an effective offense. Both his and Rhule's jobs might depend upon the outcome.