The Carolina Panthers are preparing to open training camp at Wofford in just 8 days. One thing few may have saw coming was the firing of General Manager Dave Gettleman on Monday. Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced that Gettleman had been relieved of his duties and "While the timing of this decision is not ideal, a change is needed."
A NFL team firing a GM this late in the game is, no doubt, a shock. On top that, a team cutting ties with a successful GM this late in the game is a huge red flag.
What is going on in Charlotte?
Apparently things in the front office just haven't been the same since the Super Bowl run of 2015. Word on the "street" is that the tensions between Gettleman and Jerry Richardson have grown since Dave let Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman walk out the door last year in free agency.
Gettleman's tenure has been scarred in the eyes of some for how he and his staff have handled the parting of ways with a couple of the biggest names of yesteryear. Future first ballot Hall of Famer Steve Smith was shown the door without as much as a phone call. Smith said he heard he was released on WFNZ.
This may just be the first time Mr. Richardson has seen the Panthers' current roster. His reaction may have been: "So, for the 5th year in a row, we're not going to pay attention to upgrading the offensive line?" That's definitely a fire-able offense, in my book.
The Panthers are taking a big gamble, hoping Michael Oher can return to form after sitting out most of a season with concussion issues. Taylor Moton could be fantastic, but it's another gamble to hope that a 2nd round rookie can be elite from day one. While we are laying it on the table, Matt Kalil's career has gone down hill since his rookie campaign. So naturally, when you're in the gambling mood, you pay $55.5M for a guy who has a rebuilt hip at 28 years old. Riverboat Ron needs all the luck he can muster to make these moves payoff in 2017.
Cam Newton needs elite protection, and he's never had it. He won't likely have it this year, and that's why the Panthers' chances at another championship are stagnant, at best.
This firing is a definite blow to the idea of unity in Charlotte, heading into what could be a pivotal season for Rivera.