Sources: LSU's Joe Brady to become Panthers' offensive coordinator
David NewtonESPN Staff Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Joe Brady agreed to become the offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers less than 24 hours after helping LSU win the national title.
A source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the 30-year-old Brady, after one year as LSU's passing coordinator, will return to the NFL and become the league's youngest active offensive coordinator.
He will join former Baylor coach Matt Rhule, recently named Carolina's fifth head coach in franchise history.
Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow is expected to join Rhule in Charlotte as defensive coordinator, sources told ESPN. Snow and Rhule have been together since 2013, first at rebuilding Temple and then from 2017 to '19 at Baylor.
But Brady was the bigger get because of his fast ascension in the coaching ranks. He went from a graduate assistant at Penn State in 2015 to an offensive assistant for the New Orleans Saints (2017-18) to LSU in five years.
Brady recently agreed to an extension with LSU that reportedly would have more than doubled his $410,000 annual earnings. While he said Saturday he intended to stay at LSU, his extension did not prohibit him from going to the NFL or accepting a college head coaching job, and Brady took advantage of that on Tuesday.
Brady's star really shined this past season when he helped quarterback Joe Burrow win the Heisman Trophy and national championship MVP with 5,671 yards passing and 60 touchdown passes, a single-season NCAA FBS record.
Brady won the Broyles Award given to the best assistant coach in college football.
Brady's philosophy in the spread offense should mix well with that of Rhule, who believes in adapting to the strengths of his players more than forcing players to adapt to what he wants.
He will inherit one of the league's most dynamic players in running back Christian McCaffrey, who in 2019 became the third player in NFL history to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season.
It remains uncertain whether Brady will work with quarterback Cam Newton, who is recovering from surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury. The other two quarterbacks on Carolina's roster are 2019 third-round pick Will Grier and Kyle Allen.
Allen took over for Newton after he reaggravated the Lisfranc injury originally suffered in the third preseason game and started 12 games.
The Panthers also could use the No. 7 pick of the April draft on a quarterback. It's unlikely Burrow, projected to be the top pick to Cincinnati, would be available without a trade up.
"Every coach should put together a system that isn't just what we do and this is what we're doing,'' Brady said on Saturday at media day for the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. "It's about let's see what our players do well and run the system that can relate to them and put them in the best position to have success.
"No matter the quarterback you have, if he can't really throw well but he can run, let's put a system together that can put him in the best position. The same with your running back and receivers and tight ends. The best coaches don't just run a system. They run what puts their players in the best position.''
Brady learned much of what he used at LSU this season working with Saints coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees. He took that knowledge to Burrow, who threw for five touchdowns and ran for another on Monday night in a 42-25 victory over Clemson.
"He's an NFL quarterback,'' Brady said of Burrow when asked whether he was a product of the system or talent. "For anybody to put on the tape and doubt that . . . Joe Burrow is not a system quarterback. Joe Burrow will fit in any system.
"If you want to be the most successful offense or most successful offensive coordinator you're going to have to develop a system that utilizes what he does the best.''