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Report: Panthers expected to target Lions' Johnson for head coaching vacancy

Mike Mulholland / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is expected to generate interest from the Carolina Panthers for their vacant head coaching job during the 2024 offseason, a source told Josina Anderson of CBS Sports.

The Panthers have discussed Johnson, among other names, since firing head coach Frank Reich on Monday, according to Anderson.

Johnson is expected to be one of the most coveted head coach candidates next cycle. The 37-year-old has helped the Lions build an elite offense that ranks second in yards and seventh in points this season. Detroit ranked fourth and fifth in those categories, respectively, last year.

Known for his creative play-calling, Johnson has been with the Lions since 2019. He had multiple roles on the team before being named offensive coordinator in 2022.

Teams looking for head coaches also pursued Johnson during the 2023 offseason. The Panthers requested a second interview with him back then, but he opted to return to the Lions. Carolina eventually agreed to terms with Reich.

The Panthers' next head coach will inherit a struggling offense led by rookie quarterback Bryce Young. With the No. 1 overall pick under center, the NFC South team ranks 29th in points per game.

Carolina - which hasn't made the playoffs since 2017 - is 1-10 this season.

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