Today after four years with the Carolina Panthers, owner Jerry Richardson decided to part ways with the team’s general manager, Dave Gettleman. This move came as a surprise to most of the team’s fanbase due to the fact that training camp is only nine days away and already this year Carolina has lost their president to resignation and the assistant general manager to the Buffalo Bills. Things in the Panthers front office have been shaken up considerably which may not be extremely surprising after Carolina’s atrocious 6-10 record last season, but specifics regarding this ousting are scratching some heads. Here is what you need to know regarding the situation.
Around the NFL: Former Boston Patriots’ QB, Babe Parilli, passes away at 87
What’s Trending: Texans’ RB, D’Onta Foreman, arrested on Sunday on possession charges
Gettleman joined Carolina while the franchise had gone without a winning season in almost five years, and flipped the script producing a 40-23-1 record while at the helm. Despite the fact Carolina had a bad season last year, that doesn’t necessarily make up enough of a reason to can someone who created necessary steps toward turning around the team.
Interestingly enough however, the argument could be made that Carolina is a somewhat unique franchise that draws most of its strength from individual players as opposed being deep throughout every position via free agents comparatively to someone such as New England, and Gettleman’s history of personnel decisions may not have progressed this underlying theme enough to Richardson’s content. With Gettleman in charge over the past four years, Luke Kuechly, Cam Newton, and Josh Norman (although Norman is no longer on the roster) have been some of the most vital players in any success the team had and all three of those players were drafted by Carolina.
In fact, several reports including an article released on the Panthers’ own twitter account cites that not only declining to re-sign Norman, but failing to execute on using the money from his contract towards signing extensions for core players such as Kawann Short or Trai Turner was detrimental to his downfall. Last year Carolina’s secondary consisted of veteran Kurt Coleman who may be retiring in the near future, and young players, specifically a decent amount of rookies, who clearly were not ready for the responsibility of defending the NFC South champions title, and releasing Norman was a devastating affect towards this end.
Although this move came as a surprise to a good portion of Panther Nation and even current players, the Charlotte Observer released an article in early March which stated that he had been on the hot seat after the end result of last season. Reports around the league rumored that Gettleman wanted to extend Kelvin Benjamin’s contract while most others, including possibly Richardson, did not feel the same way particularly because of Benjamin’s weight issues that had been apparent at the earliest beginning of the season.
This, along with the lack of protection for franchise quarterback Newton who was hit constantly in the pocket last year shows how evident it is that Carolina can’t sit around hoping that Michael Oher can fully recover from his concussion injuries and needs dire improvement regarding the protection of the most important player on the team, which is why extending Turner’s contract is so vital. Player contracts and roster mishaps seem to perhaps be the most important factor in Gettleman’s relieving, especially his less than staunch advocacy for extensions towards tight end Greg Olsen and linebacker Thomas Davis.
Both are getting older for their respective positions and may not be able to produce later on in the future like they have been, yet they also have a special place in Richardson’s heart. Each have been Walter Payton Man of the Year Award finalists, team captains, have a history of being crucial for good production on both sides of the ball, and most importantly represent the highest standard for players around the league on and off the field, something Richardson feels strongly about.
Despite his philosophy regarding players and their contracts, the decision to let him go seems rather hasty and confusing, but as Richardson commented on the decision “a change is needed.” Here’s to hoping this change is what Carolina requires to return as champions of the NFC.