Former Carolina head coach Matt Rhule filed an arbitration lawsuit against the Panthers over $5 million in offset compensation he claims he’s owed, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.
Rhule filed the lawsuit on Jan. 25.
Rhule was fired Oct. 10 and was owed $34 million on the rest of his contract, pending a new contract that Rhule might sign with a new team or school. Rhule was later hired by Nebraska on an eight-year, $72 million deal that offset most of what the Panthers owed to Rhule.
At issue, according to CBS Sports, is that the Panthers will contend that Rhule’s contract with Nebraska is backloaded intentionally to get Panthers owner David Tepper to pay Rhule more up-front money on the severance.
Nebraska is set to pay Rhule $5.5 million in Year 1 with escalators that take it to $12.5 million per year.
Rhule reportedly hired New York City litigator John Singer of Singer Deutsch LLP to file the complaint with the NFL.
Rhule was fired by the Panthers after a 1-4 start. He had an 11-27 record in two-plus seasons with the team.
Tepper said Tuesday, during the introduction of new head coach Frank Reich, that he made a “mistake” hiring a “CEO-type head coach” like Rhule.
“With all humility, I could have done better, OK?” Tepper said. “I’m not saying that Rhule wasn’t a good coach. I’m not saying that. Please don’t interpret it that way. I’m saying I could have run a better process last time. I do believe that.”