Carolina Panthers GM Wanted: But Whom?

Marty Hurney’s decade-plus-long tenure in Charlotte with the Carolina Panthers is over. Ron Rivera, Rob Chudzinski and the other coaches are now on notice: Win. Now. Or else.

That’s a discussion for another time. Right now, there’s a General Manager’s post to fill – and with less than a week before the trade deadline, it would seem difficult for the Panthers to do any trading before then.

We’ve got $80 million in long-term contracts in an unproductive backfield. The players loved Hurney because he paid up the big bucks for guys that have played well in the past. Ask Ryan Kalil, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Charles Johnson, and even Chris Godfrey about that one.

It would seem the team needs a “salary cap guru” of sorts as one part of the equation. With that backfield, the Panthers should be #1 in rushing in the NFL. They’re in the middle of the pack, thanks mainly to Cam Newton. He’s the team’s leading rusher.

That alone should tell you something about the team’s finances. The fact that Charles Johnson and Chris Godfrey have big long-term contracts and zero Pro Bowls between them also should.

There are rumblings all over the place about who the replacement may be. Mike Holmgren said just today that he’s open to returning as a GM, but he might be overrated. Sure, he has a Super Bowl ring as a coach in his time with Green Bay, but he had a LOT of good teams that often underachieved.

Omar Khan of the Pittsburgh Steelers is an interesting name being bandied about. Just a few months ago, Khan was promoted to “Director of Football and Business Administration” and has been talked about in the past about a GM job, but nothing ever came of it. It would seem SOMEONE will take the leap, and the Steelers are known for drafting well over the years. Since Khan has been their chief contract negotiator for over a decade, the “Salary Cap Guru” would seem to fit him well and also into the Panthers’ organizational needs, apparently.

Although he’s not new to football and he has been talked about but never given the chance yet, it could be an ideal fit for the pair. The Panthers clearly need some reason and discipline with their contracts. I recall being surprised when BOTH DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart got franchise RB-type contracts while obviously splitting carries.

I was flabbergasted when the team went out and spent even more cap money on Mike Tolbert, of the vanishing fullback species, to add to the backfield. That’s THREE different runners with big money deals. If you look at the salary cap numbers, you might think the Panthers run the old “Wishbone” offense, no?

No, they don’t.

Bill Cowher’s name has also been thrown around on the “wish list,” and although he shied away from Miami when he could have been their Head Coach for 2012, he kept his name out of the hat. One other thing – he lives in North Carolina.

Hmm.

You see, the thing about hiring a new GM is that the GM generally wants to bring his “own people” in. And win or lose, that’s bad news for Rivera. Rivera has yet to prove he’s worthy of being a Head Coach, but one thing IS certain: he’s no dummy. He gets it.

The chair he’s sitting in is warming up very, very fast as well.

From my chair here – and granted, I’m an armchair guy just like most of you are – I could easily see Khan being brought in to better manage the salary cap. It’s been in a shambles for years and it seems like every time Hurney got a little wiggle room, he’d give an oversized contract out.

Chris Godfrey….guaranteed almost $13 million? Chris Godfrey???

Follow me now…if Khan is brought in, he’s the carrot. The Panthers are the stick. Cowher would be the prize, and when you look at the circumstances, that might just be enough to get Cowher off the bench and back into the game.

Unless Rivera somehow manages at _least_ and 8-8 season, he may indeed get the quick hook. I’ve seen the movie before, many times. It rarely has a happy ending for the embattled coach.

Topics: Carolina Panthers, Carolina Panthers General Manager

Want more from Cat Crave?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.
  • PantherFanDamien

    Charles* Godfrey. Also, do some research before you claim our backfield to be unproductive, like they actually have a chance to get in a rhythm.
    DeAngelo Williams 50 attempts for 177 yards in 6 games. I understand that 3.5 Yards Per Carry isnt great, but how can he get anything going with only 8 carries per game? Same thing with Stewart, 35 carries for 142 yards in 4 games played.

    tldr; Get rid of the Read Option and any other option all together, and give these guys 15-20 carries a piece from a traditional offense and then come tell me how unproductive they are.

    The problem is the Offense, not the players.

    • Keep pounding in Charlotte

      The backfield has been unproductive. Now that may not be the fault of the players but it doesn’t change the fact the their production hasn’t been there. I do place the blame solely on offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. The read option should be a play that we bring out to give the defense a different look. We need to go to the more traditional “I” formation and 2 tight end set. Last season we were very dangerous out of the 2 tight end set. That is whether we ran the ball or passed out of that formation. We need to get back to running the football and get away from being this vertical, pass happy, 3 and out machine, we call an offense. If Chud can’t see that then FIRE him and bring in a coordinator that will make use of the $80 million we have in running backs. If we do bring in Cowher, and boy wouldn’t that be nice, we will have the perfect personnel for him, strong run game with short controlled passes to keep the chains moving and wear down the defense.
      I’m all for bringing in Omar Khan. He has been the chief negotiator with the Steelers and he is a “capologist”. During his time in the organization the team has won 2 Super Bowls and that winning formula is needed here in Carolina.

    • Catman

      I never said the backfield was unproductive due to the players, did I? I Said “With that backfield, the Panthers should be #1 in rushing in the NFL,” did I not? It’s a larger-picture view I was talking about. The talent is there, the playcalling is not, and the coaching isn’t up to par. Nothing wrong with the players themselves.

  • http://twitter.com/Asphalt_Junkie Asphalt Junkie

    Cowher and Khan? I wish. Cam needs Cowher. He’s the only coach that can ride that emotional roller coaster with Cam and keep him on track at the same time. Cam needs a coach that’ll give him a big ol kiss on the cheek when he does well

    • Catman

      Cowher’s my dream coach for the team. Will he? Who knows. “I wish” is right…but as I pointed out, Cowher lives in North Carolina, so he wouldn’t have to uproot and the Panthers would be wise to sustain a courtship with him, assuming Rivera can’t pick things up in the second half of the season and finish at least 8-8. THEN he MIGHT have a shot at keeping his job.

  • pantherINSIDER

    DEAR CHARLES JOHNSON,

    YOU SUCK !

    you and greg hardy !

  • Where’swaldo?

    Who the fuck is chris godfrey? I know a charles godfrey on our team. Jon gruden is a much better qb guru and would get in cams face than cower. Right now its all rumors not even that. Chud needs to take off his mad scientist coat and run a pro style offense.

    • Catman

      Yes, I’m human and made a mistake with Chris not Charles Godfrey, sue me. Charles Godfrey – starting safety – with a lot of guaranteed money for an “average” guy. I get hundreds of facts correct and slip on a guy’s first name and out come the haters…whatever, it’s par for the course in being a writer. “Chris Godfrey” stuck in my mind probably because he was a guard back in the 1980′s….sue me for the money back that you paid to enter and read this site, then. ;)

    • Catman

      Oh – and btw, please leave that language off this website. Kids read these things and that sort of language is not appropriate at all here. Thanks.