Khai Harley autism acceptance

Saints Vice President of Football Administration Khai Harley, pictured wearing a shirt with a custom Autism Acceptance Saints logo, is hoping to make the NFL draft an annual "tentpole event" for Autism Acceptance month. 

The Carolina Panthers need a new general manager. And they’re looking at a candidate with the New Orleans Saints to possibly fill the vacancy.

The Panthers requested to interview Saints vice president of football administration and assistant general manager Khai Harley for the position, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed. Carolina is in search of a new lead executive after owner David Tepper fired Scott Fitterer on Monday.

Harley, in his 16th season with the Saints, handles the Saints salary cap, contract negotiations and works closely with general manager Mickey Loomis. He was promoted to his current title last August. He joined the franchise in 2008 after a five-year stint with the NFL Management Council.

Harley has been long seen as a rising executive in the NFL. He left behind a successful career in finance to pursue an opportunity in sports, interning with the Indianapolis Colts and the Philadelphia Eagles. His work in the league office led him to New Orleans, where he climbed the ladder with various roles.

For the past few years, Harley has participated in the NFL’s front office and general manager accelerator program — an event designed to increase awareness and diversify the league’s pipeline of executive candidates. Harley, who is Black, has been credited for the Saints’ aggressive salary cap strategy, helping free up room for New Orleans to be cap compliant while also still pursuing free agents.

The NFL Network first reported the Panthers’ interest in Harley.

If Harley is ultimately hired for the job — and the Panthers’ search has just begun — it would mark the second time in recent years in which a divisional rival lured a high-ranking Saints executive with a promotion. In 2021, the Atlanta Falcons hired former Saints vice president and assistant general manager for pro personnel Terry Fontenot to be their general manager.

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