5 dismal moves behind former Carolina Panthers GM Scott Fitterer's demise

In on every deal didn't reap the necessary rewards...

Scott Fitterer
Scott Fitterer / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 5

Carolina Panthers didn't replace D.J. Moore, Christian McCaffrey

When Matt Rhule was mercifully fired after Week 5 of the 2022 season, it was Scott Fitteerr's chance to finally begin molding this roster as he saw fit. The Carolina Panthers were going nowhere fast and needed to recoup assets. This started by trading their best offensive weapon in star running back Christian McCaffrey.

McCaffrey was the focal point on offense and one of the league's most dynamic players. He had injury problems, but Fitterer felt the offer made by the San Francisco 49ers was too good to ignore.

It came as no surprise to see McCaffrey thrive within Kyle Shanahan's system. He's barely missed time. He was a potential NFL MVP candidate at one stage this season. He's gained more than 2,000 all-purpose yards for the second time in his illustrious career.

The Panthers replaced him with Miles Sanders. They allocated decent money to the Pro Bowler despite the growing trend around the league. It was one of the worst free-agent signings in franchise history.

Fitterer also took the difficult decision to include D.J. Moore in the trade package that sealed their trade to No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft for Bryce Young. The talented wideout received the news while he was moving house. He harbored significant resentment but pulled things together to enjoy the best statistical season of his career in a different environment.

As for the Panthers? Fitterer once again placed faith in mid-level free agents and young talent to compensate for Moore's departure. Aside from Adam Thielen, it was an unmitigated disaster.

Trading two cornerstone offensive pieces was bad enough. Not prioritizing the correct replacements was organizational malpractice on Fitterer's behalf.