It looks like Joe Brady’s time with LSU is coming to an end.
LSU’s passing game coordinator Joe Brady has told people today that he is planning to return to the NFL and the Carolina Panthers, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 14, 2020
Brady was LSU’s passing game coordinator this season and helped the Tigers install a record-setting spread offense, led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Brady, who called LSU’s offense alongside offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, won the Broyles Award, given to college football’s top assistant, for his efforts.
Brady arrived in Baton Rouge after a two-year stint as a low-level offensive assistant with the New Orleans Saints. His coaching experience before that was two years as a graduate assistant at Penn State and two years as an assistant at William & Mary, his alma mater.
Now Brady will return to the NFL as one of the top assistants for Rhule, who was hired by Carolina after a three-year stint as the head coach at Baylor. The Athletic is reporting that Brady will be the offensive coordinator in Carolina. At 30 years old, he will be the youngest coordinator in the NFL.
Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported Saturday that Brady had significant interest from “multiple NFL teams,” as well as schools like Texas, Notre Dame and Penn State, all of which had openings at offensive coordinator. Ultimately, Brady parlayed his standout season at LSU and sky-high standing in the coaching market into an NFL offensive coordinator gig — one that will reportedly come with some decision-making perks.
What does this mean for the Panthers?
While it’s unlikely the offense will mirror exactly what LSU did, the Panthers, coming off a 5-11 season, will definitely shift to more of a pass-happy attack with Brady running the show. That turns the attention back to the impending decision surrounding quarterback Cam Newton. Newton led the team to a Super Bowl appearance in 2015 but has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons. Newton, 30, has one year remaining on his contract but the team can save a significant amount of money if it releases or trades him.
If the Panthers do decide to move on from Newton, they could pursue a quarterback in the draft to place into Brady’s pass-heavy offense. The team has the No. 7 pick in the draft. While Burrow is expected go off the board to the Cincinnati Bengals with the first pick, quarterbacks like Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa or Oregon’s Justin Herbert could still be available. Tagovailoa, however, is coming off a significant hip injury and might not be healthy for the start of next season.
What does this mean for LSU?
It’s a tough blow for LSU to lose Brady on the heels of such a triumphant season. Brady has been given a lot of credit for the program’s offensive renaissance and the school was reportedly prepared to give Brady a sizable raise to stick around in Baton Rouge. However, Brady likely realized he may not ever be this highly-coveted by other teams again, so he decided to make the move back to the NFL.
Brady's exact job duties were never specified as he worked alongside Ensminger, the offensive coordinator who Orgeron said called plays. By most accounts, Brady brought in the passing concepts he learned with the Saints. And although both Brady and Burrow will be in the NFL next season, those passing concepts will remain at LSU.
Identifying the replacement for Burrow, whether it’s Myles Brennan (this year’s backup) or a graduate transfer (D’Eriq King, perhaps), will be top priority for Orgeron in the coming months.
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