Carolina Panthers continue ruthless approach to roster building

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

A ruthless approach to improving the Carolina Panthers’ chances in 2021 has once again taken center stage this week with Denzel Perryman’s trade.

The message is clear where the Carolina Panthers’ decision-making process is concerned. If someone isn’t pulling their weight or completely buying into the team’s plans, they’ll find another player who will.

It’s been another eventful offseason period of player comings and goings in Carolina ahead of the 2021 season. The introduction of general manager Scott Fitterer came with a completely different purpose to recruitment, something that’s gone down well with the team’s fanbase overall.

Outside of the obvious problem areas and some pretty big gambles, the roster looks a lot stronger now than at any point last season. Putting this all together when it matters most is the next big challenge, with Matt Rhule and his coaching staff also expected to progress their in-game handling of situational football much better in 2021 with more experience under their belts.

However, with around $24.55 million in salary-cap space remaining, there could be plenty of twists and turns to come in pursuit of finding the right formula.

The Panthers took another big decision this week, trading linebacker Denzel Perryman to the Las Vegas Raiders just 162 days after he joined the team in free agency from the Los Angeles Chargers.

A strange move. But one they felt was needed and further evidence of the team’s new ruthless approach.

Carolina Panthers are banking on Matt Rhule and Scott Fitterer moving forward.

There are no half measures where Rhule and Fitterer are concerned.

The duo formed a close working relationship in a short space of time and seem to be on the same page. But if things aren’t developing as one of both hope, they at least have the courage of their convictions to make changes instantly.

Trading former second-round pick Greg Little to the Miami Dolphins was another indicator of this. So those remaining on the roster know that complacency is simply not an option at a critical stage of Carolina’s rebuilding process.

It’s worth remembering that Fitterer was also part of the Seattle Seahawks front office when Pete Carroll took charge. This involved hundreds of transactions in a relatively short space of time before the head coach and those working under him found the chemistry they were looking for.

And ultimately, a Super Bowl victory followed in 2014.

Fitterer is hoping a similar strategy brings the same sort of rewards in Carolina. Although there is much work to be done between now and when the Panthers are truly ready to contend.

Everybody seems to be on board, for now at least. But there need to be some substantial improvements in terms of results in 2021 and beyond to give Rhule and Fitterer a little more leeway when it comes to their choices.

It keeps players on their toes, at the very least. There is also a lot to be said for the continuity residing within every playoff-hopeful across the league.

This plan was always going to take time. Fitterer himself stated following the Robby Anderson extension that they are thinking three years ahead and anybody not buying in or showing signs of disruption will be quickly shown the door.

The NFL is a cutthroat business at the best of times. Carolina’s moves of late are proof positive that there will be no sentiment if those in power think it will benefit the franchise in the short and long term.

Success on the field is all that really matters to fans. That will ultimately determine how this current direction is going to be judged.

It’s just that simple, really.

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