This is not a joke. David Richardson announced today that Dave Gettleman, now former General Manager, has been fired. It's stunning news because so many Panther fans have been disciple-like followers of Dave Gettleman. There were no signs externally, and really internally based on comments today from Bill Voth, that the Panthers had been unhappy with Gettleman's performance. He had long been thought of as the man who saved Carolina from salary cap hell, helped build rosters that won Carolina 3-division titles, 1 NFC Championship, and a Super Bowl appearance. This morning, however, Richardson announced "I want to thank Dave for the role he played in our success over the past four seasons. While the timing of this decision is not ideal, a change is needed."
So why and how does something like this happen?
Bill Voth called into WFNZ to discuss this shocking news and he articulated they are just as in the dark as we are, but after some of the shock subsides, "you can connect some of the dots." There are two areas that Gettleman has failed in his successes, not aggressively attacking real roster weaknesses and how he has dealt with veteran legends like Steve Smith, Jordan Gross, and now on the horizon Greg Olsen and Thomas Davis. Listen to Voth on WFNZ below:
Gettleman's miscalculations in filling out the Panthers roster appeared clearly in 2014 when he fielded Byron Bell at left tackle and again in 2016 when he unceremoniously let Josh Norman walk, entered the season with three rookie corners, and did absolutely nothing to strengthen the Panthers offense.
What we are all guessing, and what Voth echoed on WFNZ, is that Gettleman's handling of vets has something to do with it. Greg Olsen and Thomas Davis have both articulated that they are interested in renegotiating their contracts. These guys are on a different level than someone like who Steve Smith, whose thorny personality likely destined any divorce difficult. Much of this was forgiven or at least justified by this. Olsen, however, is the golden boy and Davis is on a level only surpassed by Sam Mills in adoration by fans. There had to be something in the background going in how Gettleman planned to approach these contracts that suggest that Gettleman had in fact handled the situations with Steve Smith, Jordan Gross, DeAngelo Williams, and Josh Norman poorly in Richardson's eyes.
This is shocking, nonetheless. Richardson isn't playing around as he sees his final opportunities to witness the franchise he built win a Lombardi.
By Tony Dunn
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