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Panthers Free Agency: Gettleman once again defers to his gut instinct

The Panthers GM's top priority this offseason was to add starting quality players at offensive tackle. While every contract brings risk, Gettleman went with his gut instead of his pocketbook to address the crisis at OT.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Of course I'm mainly referring to the Matt Kalil signing. Make no mistake whatever GM signed Kalil was going to face questions. Kalil to Carolina though was too logical given the family connection. Yet I never heard Gettleman bring that factor into the equation. Here's what he most recently said about the decision to sign the former top 10 pick.

Gettleman: "I feel really good about Matt Kalil"

It’s the most ambitious contract with an "outsider" in Gettleman’s four-plus years in charge of such decisions but the type of signing he occasionally had a hand in as the Giants’ director of player personnel.

"Since I had gotten here, we hadn’t been in position to do a deal like that on an outside guy," Gettleman said, referencing a limiting salary cap situation that has improved since his arrival. "(Longtime Giants GM) Ernie (Accorsi) taught me that if you’re going to spend that kind of money, it should be a guy entering his prime.

Matt is 27. I’ve watched a ton of tape on him. If you’re going to spend that kind of money, you’ve got to believe in the talent, believe in the health and believe in the person. "We did a lot of work on him, and I feel really good about it."

Gettleman's 'believe in the talent, believe in the health, believe in the person' sounds an awful lot like 'trust your board' and 'trust the process' mantras we've heard during offseasons past. So while the family connection might be what brought Matt to Carolina is was Gettleman's gut feel about the talent Kalil brings. In my view it's similar to the process that resulted in Michael Oher coming to Carolina. Oher had played at a Pro Bowl level early in his career but had then seen decline. Injuries were part of the equation. The player then getting healthy was too. That is similar to Kalil's career trajectory as well. We just have to pray we get more than one good season out of Kalil.

Oher apparently isn't out of the picture. Spending six months and counting in the concussion protocol wouldn't appear to bode well for any player to continue their career. Yet Gettleman threw us a bone in that regard saying this about Oher's offseason activity:

Carolina Panthers' Michael Oher injury update

Gettleman recently told reporters that Oher "looks and sounds great," despite the fact that he is still on protocol. He added that Oher is still working out five days a week, both in the weight room and completing #NFL workouts. These workouts are "not for the faint of heart," he said. (CBS).

So while Oher still being in the concussion protocol should give everyone pause I'm going to upgrade my Optimist rating for Oher from 'extremely pessimistic' to 'slightly optimistic' that he could return to play RT. I will caveat that by saying provided he exits the protocol of course and is not risking his long term health. If he's working that hard to stay in shape and get ready for the 2017 season then maybe I shouldn't bet against him. If anybody can make his way back it's Big Mike.

Keep pounding!