I wasn’t prepared for this. The Carolina Panthers have fired long-time GM Marty Hurney, who is one of the most careful, classy, and experienced GMs in the NFL. He’s also been the architect of several poor draft day decisions and has made some blunders in the offseason, so it isn’t surprising to see Hurney on his way out.
But it’s a difficult thing to see, because Hurney led the Panthers to a Super Bowl at the helm of the front office, and the Panthers also had two very successful seasons in 2005 and 2008 (that Cardinals game never existed).
Owner Jerry Richardson told NFL.com, “This was an extremely difficult decision. Marty made every effort to bring success to the Panthers and took the team to a Super Bowl and two NFC championship games. Unfortunately, we have not enjoyed the success we hoped for in recent years. I have the greatest respect and admiration for Marty and will always appreciate the way he tirelessly served the organization.”
More importantly, here’s what Hurney said. This is an extremely classy statement, and it makes it that much harder to see him go, “As General Manager I will always regret not helping us win the Super Bowl or having back-to-back winning seasons. I hope this change starts accomplishing the direction to those goals. I understand this decision by Mr. Richardson and will always have an extremely close relationship with him. I consider him the best owner in the NFL. I am responsible for everybody in coaching, the players, the scouts and everybody in football operations. After six weeks, we are 1-5 coming off a 6-10 season.”
Hey, it’s not all his fault though, and he is the guy who scouted up Cam Newton and chose to draft him. The jury is still out on Newton, but it looks like a good pick thus far, even with the bad.
1-5 teams like the Panthers need a shake-up. I don’t know if it was needed at GM, and I wish the Panthers gave him the rest of the season and fired him afterwards. Because now, it just sends the message that the Panthers are throwing in the towel even after playing it close with the Dallas Cowboys. The Panthers aren’t going to get any better this year, especially with the injuries to Ryan Kalil, Jon Beason, and Chris Gamble.
What Ron Rivera said earlier doesn’t seem true right now. The year is over for the Panthers, and the firing of Hurney signifies a renewal in Charlotte. It’s kind of hard to fathom the recent change of events, especially since it’s happened so quickly.
Everybody is fired for a reason, and here are some blunders that stand out to me with regards to Hurney.
1. Trading future draft picks a full round higher for DE Everette Brown and QB/WR Armanti Edwards.
2. Signing DeAngelo Williams to that awful deal two offseasons ago. Then, he gave another big deal to Jonathan Stewart. I like the Stewart deal, but I hate the Williams deal. I will always hate it. Way too many years and far too much money. It was the best news top running backs could get.
3. Signing Mike Tolbert (overpaid for an overrated RB/FB).
4. Mismanaging the John Fox situation.
There are a few others I may have left out, but keep in mind that Hurney has done a lot of good. Like taking calculated risks on developing offensive weapons Brandon LaFell and Newton.
In the end, a GM can’t be in power for too long of a time, especially when the team in question is moving backwards instead of moving forward. This was supposed to be an improvement of a year for the Panthers, but a part of me feels like Hurney is the fall guy.
What do you guys think about the announcement to fire Hurney? Measured change that is necessary or a complete overreaction by Richardson? Or somewhere in between?
And yes, I know that is a picture of Richardson on the right.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.