When Dave Gettleman, former Pro Personnel Director for the Giants, current Carolina Panther’s general manager, walked through the door his first task was handling a salary cap situation that was less desirable than just about any in the league.
The Carolina Panthers were close to 16 million dollars over the NFL salary cap and needed to be below it once the league year started on March 12. Cuts followed, and fans watched as the new regime cut Chris Gamble, Ron Edwards, and fan-favorite James Anderson. Fans saw their prayers answered with the re-signings of defensive back Captain Munnerlyn, and defensive tackle Dwan Edwards.
More miraculous was the pay cut that veteran left tackle Jordan Gross took to stay with the team one more year. Gross’ restructure was a necessity, and fans were left to wonder if he would be released instead. Gettleman was quick to deliver again. He had come out of his corner swinging.
The Panthers stayed relatively quiet the first few days of NFL free agency. With no money to offer some of the bigger-name free agents the Panthers scoured the market for more value players than players commanding large salaries.
DJ Moore, former Chicago Bears defensive back, Drayton Florence, former Detroit Lions defensive back, and safety Mike Mitchell from Oakland were brought in to provide depth and challenge the rookies in a secondary that was much maligned in the earlier part of the 2012 campaign, but saw an upswing in the later part of the season. The Carolina Panthers were suddenly looking at a very capable secondary on paper, at least at the corner back position.
Showing his attention to detail and his attention to detail, Gettleman signed wide receivers Ted Ginn Jr., and former Giants receiver Domenik Hixon. Ted Ginn Jr. will most likely be the Panthers starting kick returner after head coach Ron Rivera buried Joe Adams underneath his dog house. Domenik Hixon was brought in specifically to be Louis Murphy’s replacement. While not as fast as Murphy (few receivers are), and injury prone, Hixon runs better routes and can actually catch. He is Louis Murphy 2.0.
Gettleman’s maneuvers were not simply ones that would get the Panthers players that could go out on the field and play on Sunday’s. He’s made it no secret that the Panthers, like the Giants, intend to build through the draft. He’s methodically planning for the seasons beyond 2013. And that is with or without Ron Rivera. He’ll have a tougher time of it next season. Decisions will have to made regarding Jon Beason, Deangelo Williams, Charles Godfrey, and even Charles Johnson. He’ll have to contend with Greg Hardy in the offseason, and he’ll need to be planning even further for keeping Cam Newton in Carolina for the foreseeable future.
Gettleman has walked into a mess that former GM Marty Hurney left when Richardson fired him. None of it seems to phase Gettleman. He’s standing on the firing line and taking precise, accurate shots at bringing this organization back to relevancy. He’s already done more, with less, than Marty Hurney has done since 2002-2003. He seems worth his salt. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how he drafts, and for what the future brings for the Carolina Panthers with him at the helm.