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Let me start first by saying former Panthers GM Dave Gettleman did a lot of good things for the Panthers and they number more than the bad. But hey, he’s gone and here’s the reasons why I’m not completely torn up by this move. I’m more apprehensive than anything because of not knowing who we might replace him with. The rumors of Marty Hurney filling in do not give me a warm and fuzzy. But that has yet to play out so let’s stay positive about the future. For now let’s pile on the G-man. Here’s my top 5 Gettleman blunders since becoming the Panthers GM. Let me know of any I may have left out.
1. Rescinding Josh Norman’s franchise tag a week before the NFL draft
This is easily the biggest head scratcher of his four year tenure. Based on the timing and the comments that surfaced afterward Gettleman apparently got pissed off at Norman’s agent. Hey, isn’t it his job to keep a cool head? I thought one of the requirements of being a tough negotiator was having thick skin. The reality was that Josh Norman wanted to stay a Panther and Gettleman was too hard headed to get a deal done.
2. Botching WR Steve Smith’s release
How do you botch the release of the franchise’s favorite player at the end of a long career? That should have been simple, but I admit maybe not so easy. Smith is a rare bird who could get his feathers ruffled. But he loves the Panthers and Charlotte and it’s a damn shame he hasn’t retired a Panther or been inducted into the Panthers Hall of Honor. I most recently thought the reason Smith hasn’t retired a Panther lied with owner Jerry Richardson. I’m not so sure anymore.
3. Letting LT Jordan Gross retire
Gross has stated a couple times since then he was willing to play a couple more seasons but he wasn’t going to play for what G-man was offering. They were only a couple $M apart. Look at how we have suffered at LT ever since. Gettleman was stupid for not paying Jordan Gross. Which leads me to #4, where G-man just compounded the problem.
4. Moving RT Byron Bell to LT
After three lackluster seasons (and I’m being kind) at RT the Panthers made the decision to put him at LT. It made no sense at the time (it was a bold move) and the results were predictable. The Panthers finished 7-8-1 for the season (but still won the division title) as Cam Newton was constantly pressured from the left edge. Yet even after rolling craps with Bell, Gettleman continued to try and squeeze juice from dead turnips like Nate Chandler and Garry Williams. Hell I’m not even sure we’ve fixed the offensive line to this day. I’m hopeful Matt Kalil will return to form and that either Darryl Williams or rookie Taylor Moton will be sufficient at RT. We finally have a little depth but it’s hardly a strength. You have to protect the QB in this game if you hope to win consistently. Gettleman always tried to go cheap ont he o-line.
5. Using three draft picks (2nd, 3rd, 5th) on WR Devin Funchess
Where Marty Hurney loved to draft future draft picks (bad!) Dave Gettleman likes to package multiple picks to move up in a draft. Rarely did the strategy pay off. The worst example was the 2015 draft trade package of three draft picks (2nd, 3rd, 5th) to move up 16 spots in the 2nd round for a player I think would have still been on the board. I’m not calling Funchess a bust, I think he will still get a chance to shine. I just would have preferred to keep those picks and draft him at the Panthers spot in the 2nd round.
I’m thinking I left a couple of potential blunders out just stopping at 5, like the DeAngelo Williams release. I’m thinking that one is just a repeat of what ticked of Smitty.
So what else would you add to the list?