A rather big bombshell dropped on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week when offensive coordinator Dave Canales left after one year to become head coach of the Carolina Panthers.
He had interviewed a few times for the job, and it was expected that he’d at some point get a head coaching gig, but that it happened this quickly is downright shocking. It absolutely rules for Canales, who a year ago was a generally unknown position coach up in Seattle, and now he’s being handed the keys to the locker room of an NFL franchise.
That’s a meteoric rise if there eve was one.
Losing Canales is a massive blow to the Bucs, but not a fatal one. Replacing him just became the most important thing the team needs to do in an offseason already crowded with big decisions. It’s unclear what the ripple effects of this might be, as the dust needs to settle a bit while the shock of it all wears off.
It’snot surprising that Canales left to take a head coaching job when it came up, but the more we learn about his deal with the Panthers the more it makes sense.
Dave Canales contract details with Panthers make it clear why he left the Bucs
Adam Schefter reported late Thursday night that Canales is getting a six-year contract from the Panthers. That’s objectively insane considering the lack of experience, but helps explain why Canales was so tempted to leave.
Getting offered a head coaching job is one thing, but to get that sort of deal makes it a no-brainer move.
Greg Auman probably put it best, pointing out that Canales betting on himself last year likely changed the entire trajectory of his career.
Now the question becomes who will the Bucs hire to replace Canales. Part of the charm of this season was knowing that Baker Mayfield would finally have some offensive continuity, but that’s now gone with Canales in Carolina.
Two names on the market could provide some sort of familiarity for Baker. Alex Van Pelt was his coordinator for two seasons in Cleveland — the longest period of time he’s spent with a single coach — while Zac Robinson worked with Baker last year for a brief time in Los Angeles.
Van Pelt was fired by the Browns after the Wild Card round while Robinson is interviewing for a promotion from pass game coordinator and quarterbacks coach. There are also potential candidates like Kliff Kinsgbury and Eric Bieniemy, as well as Kellen Moore.
We’ll see how the market settles, but the Bucs are much more desirable destination than they were a year ago. Jason Licht was able to pluck Canales from a limited group of candidates, which should give Bucs fan confidence he’ll do even better this time around.