In an offseason of stunning moves surrounding NFL general managers, the Carolina Panthers topped them all with the firing of Dave Gettleman on Monday.
The first NFL training camp opens up on Wednesday, and with most teams revving up for the start of a new season, the Panthers slammed the brakes. Carolina announced in a statement that the team has fired general manager Dave Gettleman after he spent four years in the role.
Gettleman did a terrific job by all accounts, taking over a lackluster franchise in 2013 and turning into one of the best over his tenure. The Panthers won three NFC South titles and reached the Super Bowl in 2015, going 15-1 in the process. Gettleman was traditionally quiet in free agency did a superb job in the draft, bringing in players such as Star Lotulelei, Trai Turner, Kelvin Benjamin, James Bradberry, Daryl Worley and more.
While the firing would have been shocking regardless of the time, moving on from Gettleman mere days before the opening of camp is a stunner. Carolina could have made the decision earlier in the offseason, likely allowing it time to retain Brandon Beane, a high-ranking personnel man who ended up taking the GM job with the Buffalo Bills. Now, the Panthers are all but sure to stay internal with the next hire, considering most teams will refuse interview requests at this juncture.
One wonders if the Josh Norman situation, followed by a 6-10 season, was the tipping point. Norman was on the franchise tag last year before Gettleman rescinded it, allowing the first-team All-Pro to become an unrestricted free agent. Days later, Norman signed a $75 million deal with the Washington Redskins.
If that is the case, why did owner Jerry Richardson wait so long to make a change? Certainly, the true story will emerge in the coming days and weeks. Regardless, it leaves Carolina in a brutal spot heading into what many believe could be a bounceback season.