Panthers give coach Rivera lucrative new contract


The Carolina Panthers have enjoyed their most successful three-year stretch in franchise history and now Ron Rivera is reaping the benefits.

Rivera and the Panthers on Thursday agreed on a new deal to make him one of the NFL's highest-paid coaches.

The new deal is worth $19.5million over three years ($6.5m per season) with $3m in extra incentives, according to reports.

"It was an easy decision," Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said in a statement.

"Ron has worked extremely hard and we are thrilled with our current direction. Mr. Richardson has established a great culture here and Ron is a big part of that."

The Seattle Seahawks' Pete Carroll and the New Orleans Saints' Sean Payton are the highest-paid coaches in the league at $8m a year, while the New England Patriots' Bill Belichick earns $7.5m.

Rivera, 54, has a 47-32-1 record in five seasons with the Panthers, including three straight NFC South titles and a Super Bowl berth last season.