Hot Hits

Best and worst offseason moves: Carolina Panthers

Although bringing in wide receiver Domenik Hixon is not exactly a blockbuster move, Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman has credibility when it comes to acquiring receiving talent.

Although bringing in wide receiver Domenik Hixon is not exactly a blockbuster move, Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman has credibility when it comes to acquiring receiving talent.

It’s been a slow progression, but the Carolina Panthers have been moving in the right direction since John Fox’s lame-duck season of 2010. They drafted the 2011 Rookie of the Year in quarterback Cam Newton and followed that up with the Defensive Rookie of the Year in linebacker Luke “Luke-ness Monster” Kuechly. Meanwhile, they have gone from two to six to seven wins and from fourth to third to second place in the division.

Nevertheless, while the Panthers have shown improvement, they remain a disappointment. They have let too many wins slip away, leading the league in fourth-quarter leads that turned into losses over the last two years. Neither head coach Ron Rivera nor Newton has proven he can adjust in game or in season quickly enough to make this team a contender. For that reason, 2013 will be a make-or-break year for both of them; they either find a way to take the next step or neither will be Panthers in 2014.

Unfortunately for them, former general manager Marty Hurney left the team in a disadvantageous position with respect to the salary cap, so the fates of Rivera and Newton lie largely in the hands of rookie GM Dave Gettleman.

Best Move

Gettleman has chosen to pursue quantity over quality this offseason, restructuring numerous contracts to not only bring Carolina under the cap, but also give them enough breathing room to make some strategic moves. As a result, he has not needed to make nearly as many cuts as most experts and fans had expected.

Neither has he yet made a definitive master stroke in terms of free-agent acquisition. But he has addressed all of Carolina’s major weaknesses. He brought in defensive tackle Colin Cole to shore up the line. Wide receivers James Shaw, Domenik Hixon, and Ted Ginn, Jr. all have the potential to make significant impact on offense or special teams. Drayton Florence and D.J. Moore were good pickups at the cornerback position.

Under Gettleman’s careful stewardship, Carolina has gone from $10 million over the cap to $6 million while deepening their talent pool. The organization can approach the 2013 NFL Draft with a more relaxed posture; where other teams will be forced to address pressing needs, Carolina will be free to avail themselves of valuable players who may drop to them.

Worst Move

Releasing James Anderson! Are Luke Kuechly, Jon Beason, and Thomas Davis all better linebackers and athletes when in top form? Sure, but Davis and Beason have suffered major injuries more than once over the last three seasons and have huge question marks floating over their heads. Letting the 2011 NFL tackle leader leave when he has been this team’s saving grace the past two years stripped the defense of any backup plan.

Releasing linebacker James Anderson was a bit of a head-scratcher.

Releasing linebacker James Anderson was a bit of a head-scratcher.

Carolina hopes to bulk up the secondary and defensive tackle position in the draft, but the linebackers must play a key role in bridging that game. If the health issues put Beason and/or Davis on injured again, as it has at least twice for each in the recent past, the entire defense could quickly collapse. It’s doubtful the the addition of Chase Blackburn provide the kind of security blanket Anderson afforded them.

Future prospects

Gettleman found himself in an unenviable position when he took over this team. They were weighted down with bad contracts, soaring high above the cap ceiling, and depleted by injuries. But it appears that he has a comprehensive plan for recovery, and provided the players can manage to stay healthy — an overwhelming concern right now — he may pull the team through.

Coming as he does from the New York Giants, he possesses a certain gravitas when it comes to the decisions he makes at the wide receiver and defensive tackle positions, two areas the Panthers have historically floundered. That is most certainly the key reason he was hired.

330 comments
Reggie/Agnew 2016
Reggie/Agnew 2016 moderator

I just bought a tub of ice cream. im gonna go scoop some out of it, all while screaming "YOU'VE BEEN SCOOPED LIKE A PUG!!".


over..and over.

BearsSaveLives
BearsSaveLives moderator

Did you guys hear the horrible news? Faith Hill isn't going to do the Sunday Night Football opening anymore. 

I guess my Sunday nights are free again.

natesweet
natesweet moderator

this site is broked. i'm outta here. Talk to you all latron.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused moderator

Damn, I can't imagine being the slower people who didn't get to the finish before the bombs went off.

All that training and prep for this to happen.

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

At least one hot chick was injured.

 ✔

Lapeer, MI 6-year-old drives family car, heads to Chinese restaurant

AND CARS.  BAN THEM!


thebaskett
thebaskett

this is satire.. walter is making fun of Emmit Smith.. its not a real mock.. its pretty funny

LaCW
LaCW

@thebaskettlossed Coke McCoy. Coke McCoy have no relations with Pepsi McCoy, or Dr. Pepper McCoy for that matters

 ✔

@thebaskett  Walter Football has an abysmal accuracy record.  They make Kiper Jr. look good.

LaCW
LaCW

@thebaskett "one is accident,two is fluke."


Reminds me of a certain Lions fan.

AndrewLeT
AndrewLeT

@SDL that is too good to be from a T.V. show called Louie on FX.

natesweet
natesweet moderator

@SDL I think I saw her on the Daily Show too. Talk about irony.