The news of now-former Carolina Panthers' General Manager David Gettleman's unexpected firing is now old, people have weighed in, and a lot of noise has resulted. Now, it's my turn to add to the reason(s) behind the move.
The "pro" Gettleman Side of the Argument
Dave Gettleman was hired to do some very, very dirty work -- namely to make some tough decisions to get the club financially viable after Spendthrift Marty Hurney straddled the team with several huge contracts, and had a particular affinity for solid, but not great, running backs.
That means a lot of team turnover. That's a given. Some of the decisions he made weren't popular with the fans. That's also going to BE a given with any team under the circumstances. Gettleman made some shrewd personnel moves in getting rid of the flotsam and riding out the handcuffs he wore for most of his tenure while getting the team to possibly within a few plays of at least taking the Super Bowl into overtime.
THAT is a big deal. With the "Salary Cap Hell" still in full bloom, he and Head Coach Ron Rivera have made the best out of a bad situation.
The problem with listing a lot of "pros" here is that it takes a while to see how rookies end up being as professionals.
You can hear some GREAT back-and-forth on the C3 Podcast here which will open in a different window so you won't lose your place here.
The "con" Gettleman Side of the Argument
Lots of weeds to get through here, but I think his ultimate downfall was how he parted ways with players. That's the skinny.
Names? It's a long list and if you'll stay with me, you'll see why Jerry put a stop to it.
John Beason. DeAngelo Williams. Steve Smith. Josh Norman. ALL were rudely and rather unceremoniously let go from the team at some point. It's not so much the fact that he felt he had to cut loose some popular veterans. On the contrary; that's exactly what he was hired to do.
I mentioned to the Professor (AKA C3's own Tony Dunn) that Jerry Richardson's hiring of the brusque Northeasterner stereotype to do the dirty work that needed to be done is vaguely metaphorically reminiscent of the then-steel magnate Andrew Carnegie's hiring of one Henry Frick...which ultimately resulted in the Homestead massacre and the Pinkerton Detectives opening fire on workers locking out Carnegie of his steel mill...all while Carnegie conveniently was on extended vacation in Scotland.
Similarly here, the metaphorical mess is similar to a couple of "massacres" in that all-important court of Public Opinion. DeAngelo Williams and Steve Smith both have been a lot more outspoken for their disdain for Gettleman not so much in the fact they were let go from the club but the manner in which they were informed.
I'm not 100% sure, but I think Smitty learned about it from a reporter...Williams might have as well. Both were horribly ugly, and that's the irony of it all.
Being NICE to people IS FREE!!!
I won't get into examples of how differently I'd have done it, but Gettleman definitely wasn't smarter than a 5th-grader in how he handled players' exits. THAT is the key here, I think.
2017's salary cap is pretty full already, and Thomas Davis as well as Greg Olsen have made it known that they want contract extensions. While they could be worked out that the hits to this year's salary caps could be minimal to non-existent, I think Jerry Richardson had seen enough from Gettleman's track record to put his foot down on things.
In the spirit of full disclosure here, I was generally on-board with Gettleman and a lot of the moves he made, but was also VERY vocal when he was making what I perceived as mistakes when I did see them. I was never in favor of moving Byron Bell to the left tackle position and you can search all you want but you won't ever find me saying otherwise. I kind of thought at the time he was talking him up, knowing he'd fail, but at least it would mitigate some of the blame for his own failures of being able to get adequate edge-protection for franchise QB Cam Newton. Drafting Taylor Moton this year, a right tackle candidate, and signing Matt Kalil was too little too late there. Kalil is the franchise's biggest roll of the dice yet, and he's less proven than any of Hurney's big signings.
The Bottom Line is that Word Gets Around and FAST!
The biggest single reason for Gettleman's ouster, in my own humble opinion, is that he had made his name toxic among the league's veterans, and that adversely affects the players available TO you in free agency. There were several big names that one would think might want to come to a winning franchise that didn't come here for one reason or another. Publicly they say the right things, but privately, they had to be wondering how stable ANY position on that roster is...especially after the rescinding of Josh Norman's franchise tag.
If you're not going to wind up with him, trade him and get something for him or just let him go and move on with things. The situation dragged out and left a bad taste in everyone's mouth, and when you add that to Beason's booting and DeAngelo's years-long ire, you've got a pattern.
Oh...right. Then there's Steve Smith.
No; The Big Cat saw the two oncoming trains and moved the franchise aside. He also re-hired Marty Hurney as an "interim" guy. I'm not so sure just how "interim" he's going to wind up being, but he wasted no time inking Trai Turner to a 4-year $45 million deal with a hair over $20 million guaranteed. This is literally the next day.
Now, we've got Thomas Davis and Greg Olsen to satisfy. The fact they are as big fan favorites as they come means Hurney will likely OVER-pay them, and the franchise will be right back to where it started when Hurney was shown the door the first time.
Since Gettleman is gone, veterans are going to be more willing to come to Carolina now....only adding to Future Cap Hell if Hurney remains at the controls, but at least it drives up the desire on the part of the labor force (NFL veteran free agents) to come here, and that gives us more options. While all the good teams build through the draft, nobody hits on every pick and for one reason or another, there are always holes to fill.
Folks, this is what history looks like when it repeats itself. Just pray or do whatever meditation you might do for the stability of the team now. Hopefully, Hurney will keep any deals with two getting-over-the-hill veterans (sorry Greg, but I don't see three MORE 1k+ seasons in you) contained to 2018 and not strap yet another albatross to the franchise's neck.
It's the Panthers, not the Ancient Mariners.
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