The Carolina Panthers clearly like Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, submitting a request to interview him for their head coaching job despite the fact he stopped short of interviewing with them for that job a year ago.
The Panthers also have their eyes on getting another member from the Lions organization. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter and the team's own announcement, Carolina has submitted a request to interview Lions Chief Operating Officer Mike Disner for their general manager job.
Disner is the ninth candidate the Panthers have asked to interview for their general manager opening.
Lions' COO Mike Disner has resume of a top general manager candidate
Disner has been with the Lions since 2019, initially managing the club’s salary cap and analytics efforts as Vice President of Football Administration. He later played a key role in the hiring of head coach Dan Campbell, and has been credited for discovering general manager Brad Holmes. Holmes was not on the Lions’ radar until Disner was sent a video from the league.
Disner then spent time as the Lions' Senior Vice President of Football and Business Administration, In 2022, he was promoted to COO.
Prior to coming home to work for the Lions (he's a West Bloomfield, Michigan native), Disner entered the NFL with the New England Patriots as an intern in 2005, then he became a scouting assistant in 2007. After two years, he took a position on the NFL management council. He then worked for six years as Director of Football Administration from the Arizona Cardinals, where he was the Cardinals' lead contract negotiator.
Calvin Johnson has openly credited Disner as the driving force that repaired his severed relationship with the Lions' organization.
On Wednesday, via MLive, Dan Campbell praised Disner.
"Two years ago, he dealt with the cap, structuring contracts, free agency, and then it’s just grown from there,” Campbell said. “Certainly Rod (Wood) has groomed him to be a little bit more, and he’s got oversight on the administrative side of what we do here. He’s been outstanding. I mean, he’s worthy of a shot.”
If the Panthers hire Disner as their new general manager, that could bolster their chances to hire Johnson as their head coach. Or both guys could choose to avoid working for the new worst owner in the NFL. Outside of the Carolina angle, it's no surprise Disner is surfacing as a candidate to be a general manager.