8:37 AM PT -- The offer Tepper gave Rhule really was one he couldn't refuse. Rhule will be getting a 7-year, $60 MILLION deal that could be worth as much as $70 MIL with incentives, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
Call this the Giants' 13th loss this season ... the Carolina Panthers just hired Big Blue's reported top candidate, Matt Rhule, to be their next head coach.
Rhule -- Baylor's head man since 2016 -- had been rumored to be the Giants' top choice since they canned Pat Shurmurlast week.
It made sense ... the 44-year-old was born in NYC, and was previously an assistant O-line coach for the Giants in 2012 and was seen as a guy who could make an offense with Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley hum.
In fact, the G-men and all of their top brass were reportedly set to have a massive meeting with the guy Tuesday.
But, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, Panthers owner David Tepper spent the entire day with Rhule in Waco, Texas on Monday and clearly made him an offer he couldn't refuse.