Panthers, Ron Rivera close to contract extension, report says

The Panthers and head coach Ron Rivera are in “deep in negotiations on a contract extension” that would run through the 2020 season, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Saturday on Good Morning Football.

The deal is “expected to be completed, and it could happen soon, potentially even before (Sunday’s) playoff game” in New Orleans, Rapoport said.

Rivera’s current deal was set to expire after the 2018 season, and he would have been coveted in a market with several head coach openings. The Bears, for whom Rivera both played and coached, are among the teams searching.

Signing Rivera to a contract extension, Rapoport noted, is the “first big decision for Tina Becker,” the Panthers COO who is running the organization with owner Jerry Richardson stepping down after announcing the team is for sale.

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