Steve Smith had the most vicious response to the Panthers firing GM Dave Gettleman
These were unpopular moves that many general managers would have been too scared to make, but they were necessary if the Panthers were going to get the team’s best players locked up long-term.
Gettleman’s predecessor, Marty Hurney, was too scared to make similar moves. Hurney spent hundreds of millions during the 2012 offseason in order to keep together a team coming off a 2-14 season. He made DE Charles Johnson the league’s highest-paid player. He gave both DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart big-money deals long after the rest of the league had realized paying running backs was bad business. No Panthers fan wanted to see any of those players leave town, but those extensions crippled the team long after Hurney was fired.
Marty Hurney’s (left) loyalty to veteran players may have made Jerry Richardson (right) happy, but it wreaked havoc on the the team’s cap situation. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Hurney had done good work in the draft, acquiring Newton, Davis, Norman and Luke Kuechly. But his loyalty to the older players on the roster would have made it difficult for the Panthers to keep that core together. That’s where Gettleman stepped in. He purged the team of all its bad contracts while keeping the team competitive.
Thanks to Gettleman, the team’s three most important players — QB Cam Newton, LB Luke Kuechly and DT Kawann Short — are all locked up until 2020, and the team still has plenty of cap room to build around that foundation. Compare that to the 2012 season, when the Panthers’ three highest-paid players were Johnson, Williams and Jordan Gross and the team was $6 million over the cap.
It didn’t take long for “In Gettleman we trust” to become a rallying cry for Panthers fans. Not after Dave Gettleman took a top-heavy roster with a bloated cap bill and turned it into NFC contenders within a year of taking over the front office.
Now, just 17 months after leading the franchise to a 15-1 record and its second Super Bowl appearance, Gettleman has been fired as general manager. It was a move that rocked the NFL world given the magic he worked building up the roster while dealing the tightest of budgets.
Dave Gettleman took over a team four years removed from a winning season in horrific cap shape and went 40-23-1 with three division titles.
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) July 17, 2017
But as more details emerge, it’s starting to become clear why Gettleman was let go: His ruthless handling of players’ contracts, the trait that helped him drag the Panthers out of cap purgatory, was starting to wear thin on veterans in the locker room.
Not sure I’ve seen former players take public shots at a departing GM like Gettleman. That should give you some insight
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz)
Source:: For The Win