Carolina Panthers: Front office competency a strength ahead of draft

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

Why front office competency could be a vital edge for the Carolina Panthers during a crucial 2021 NFL Draft.

For many years in a relatively short history, Carolina Panthers fans have entered and exited many of its seasons with a bitter taste and uncertainty. After its last Super Bowl appearance in 2015, failed front office acquisitions, and subpar drafting, the team has been left in a constant state of flux with little in the way of hope.

That appears to be a thing of the past this year.

For the first time in recent memory, the Panthers have seemingly matched an up-and-coming head coach, progressive coordinators, and general manager in Matt Rhule, Joe Brady, Phil Snow, and Scott Fitterer extremely well ahead of their first NFL Draft together.

With all the second-year coaches and its new GM continuing to grow with and around each other. Also, the underrated hiring of Samir Suleiman, a man who was poached from the Pittsburgh Steelers during team owner David Tepper’s time with the organization, has become a steal for the new regime.

Suleiman has begun his work in fixing the salary cap mess that has plagued the team due to previous mismanagement, notably helping to restructure the contracts of Matt Paradis, Shaq Thompson, and running back Christian McCaffrey while signing incoming players to great team-friendly and cost-efficient salaries.

The refreshing sense of the team fixing a subpar roster while continuing to build on the progress of young players across the depth chart has invigorated an entire organization and its fans.

Though a few signings may be questionable at the moment, the overall free agency haul has been positively received.

Carolina Panthers have enjoyed a successful offseason so far.

In particular, the signings of solid veterans mostly starters in Denzel Perryman, Hassan Reddick, Dan Arnold, Morgan Fox, A.J. Bouye, David Moore, and DaQuan Jones to add to the rising core of Thompson, Jeremy Chinn, Donte’ Jackson, Derrick Brown, DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, Taylor Moton, McCaffrey, and new quarterback Sam Darnold following his trade from the New York Jets.

Now, even with all the progress from returning players and infusion of new talent, no one is penciling the team in for the next Super Bowl this year. But an improvement from the 5-11 can almost be expected.

With the team scheduled to have the 12th easiest schedule, improved players, and a full year in the Rhule/Brady/Snow schemes, things are indeed trending up.

Additionally, next week’s draft should serve to solidify a strong offseason and the front office’s capability to field an adequate and competitive team for the foreseeable future.

After the successful offseason so far, the Panthers are left with significantly fewer holes than seasons past and go into the all-important draft weekend looking for some offensive line and safety help along with depth at tight end, cornerback, wide receiver, and running back.

Not a bad position to be in, which is down in no small part to competent decision-makers who are all singing from the same hymn sheet.