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David Tepper blows up the coaching salary curve

Mike Florio and Chris Simms examine Cam Newton's future in Carolina after the Panthers reportedly hire Matt Rhule as their next head coach.

Panthers owner David Tepper apparently didn’t get the memo that, despite the absence of a salary cap for coaches, NFL teams don’t spend as freely as they could on the men who run their teams.

Adam Schefter of reports that the seven-year deal given to new Panthers coach Matt Rhule has a base value of $60 million, and that it can be worth up to $70 million with incentives.

That’s a whopping $8.5 million per year for an entry-level coach, and another $1.5 million per year (on average) in incentives -- a device not commonly used at the NFL level.

It’s about time, frankly, that someone disrupts what arguably has been collusive activity for decades. Coaches are worth far more than they are paid. If Nick Foles, for example, has a value of $22 million per year, Bill Belichick is worth twice that amount.

But teams have managed to resist an explosion of the market, due in part to the fact that the most valuable coaches don’t want to risk losing a game of musical chairs by calling an owner’s bluff and becoming a free agent. The money is more than good enough, but it could be better. It now may start getting a lot better. Rhule, thanks to Tepper, could re-set the market.

And that could earn a frosty reception for Tepper when the owners gather for the annual meetings in March.