I have a few thoughts about the Panthers' cut of Jake Delhomme. I'd really encourage readers to post their favorite memories of Jake Delhomme here. He is a stand-up guy, and he was the best quarterback in the history of our team.
Honestly, my favorite memory of Jake was during the Super Bowl against the Patriots. It's not actually a "play," it's an after-play. Jake had just thrown a touchdown pass, getting us back into the game, and as he ran down the field to celebrate, the Patriots' bad-ass safety Rodney Harrison gave Jake a shot.
It should have been a fifteen-yard penalty flag, but instead of whining about it like Tom Brady would have, Jake turned around, stuck his finger in Harrison's face, and said something crazy/angry/humorous in Cajun: it translated in my mind to "You don't scare me. I've got a lot more fight in me. Just wait till I get the ball back again."
I have no idea what Jake said, but that image was near and dear to my heart. Honestly, the Panthers had often been the pushovers in the league, and at that moment I felt like my team had a fighter. I felt it again after the team lost, and there's a great image of Delhomme after the final seconds of the Super Bowl ticked off. He looked ticked off! His expression said: "If we had one more possession, we would've won this game."
It's true that Jake had a complete meltdown in two-years-ago playoffs, and he continued that in most of the games in 2009. It was very clear that Coach Fox should have pulled Delhomme after the third game. It's like a baseball manager: sometimes your star pitcher has a bad night, or many nights. You've got to pull him. Fox waited way too long.
In any case, I just wanted to say: Jake, Thank You! You are a fighter, a leader, a very good quarterback when your game was on, and you made me look forward to every Sunday.
Again, I'd really encourage readers to post their favorite memories of Jake. I'd really like to re-live them.
-- John Fox and Marty Hurney absolutely have to get to the playoffs next year and win one game. Otherwise, they need to go. They obviously gave Jake the contract extension last year in order to clear cap space to franchise Julius Peppers. I think it's fair to say that most of the Panther Nation thought: "What the heck? This is a bad move." And we were right.
It was simply a very bad move by Hurney/Fox. I'm not a math wizard, but figuring in Jake's signing bonus, minus Jake's original contract for 2009, etc., I'd guess that Hurney/Fox cost Mr. Richardson at least 9 million dollars.
Mr. Richardson is a tolerant and patient man. It's my opinion, based on finances -- and Darin Gantt has a great article about this -- that cutting Jake now was the right move. That said, Hurney/Fox... You're on the clock.