Carolina Panthers GM Dan Morgan's overhaul is off to a polarizing start

It's been a polarizing start for Dan Morgan in the prominent position of power.

Dan Morgan
Dan Morgan / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers general manager Dan Morgan's substantial roster overhaul in pursuit of better fortunes is off to a polarizing start.

Dan Morgan had a tough job on his hands this offseason. The Carolina Panthers are coming off a two-win campaign that saw them become the NFL's punching bag - a complete laughingstock on and off the field. It was a poisoned chalice, but one the new general manager took on with his customary focus and determination.

The Panthers are embarking on a complete roster overhaul. Some difficult decisions have been made. Established stars departed either by force or of their choosing. Morgan has begun transferring significant investment from the defense onto the offensive operation in the hope that quarterback Bryce Young can start repaying Carolina's substantial investment.

Not everyone is thrilled by the moves made. But there is at least some sort of long-term planning attached - something that couldn't be said of the rash decision-making of two previous regimes under David Tepper's ownership.

Carolina Panthers get C+ grade for free agency moves

This is reflected in Garrett Podell from CBS Sports' assessment of Carolina's free agency up to now. The writer gave Morgan a modest C+ grade as a result of his efforts. While he acknowledged fortifying the offensive line was a plus, trading star edge rusher Brian Burns to the New York Giants for way below market value following severe mismanagement of the player is something they might come to regret.

"The Carolina Panthers are overhauling their roster in Year 1 of a new regime with general manager Dan Morgan and head coach Dave Canales. They are bringing in former Miami Dolphins guard Robert Hunt on a deal that is the second-highest in average per year ($20 million) and total value ($100 million) among NFL guard contracts. Carolina's quarterback pressure rate of 41.1% was the fourth-worst in the NFL last season while they surrendered 65 sacks, tied for the second-most allowed by any team in the league with the Washington Commanders. Naturally, quarterback Bryce Young, the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, who was under pressure on 40.7% of his throws last season, the sixth-highest rate in the NFL, had a 73.7 passer rating when pressured, the worst in the entire league. However, the Panthers surrendered an A-list pass-rusher (Brian Burns) for pennies on the dollar, which weighs down their grade."

Garrett Podell, CBS Sports

At the end of the day, ripping off the band-aid now was the right thing to do. The Panthers are going nowhere fast. Building up Young's confidence with better protection and more explosive playmakers while hoping defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero can do more with less is their preferred approach.

Next offseason there can be more freedom with $111.81 million in available salary-cap space. Until then, Young is the priority. Any further roster failings around the No. 1 pick in 2023 will severely jeopardize his chances of becoming a franchise-caliber presence under center. Morgan and the Panthers cannot let that happen.

There doesn't seem to be any middle ground with fans right now. They are either fully behind Morgan or unwilling to give him a chance thanks to his close connection with previous general manager Scott Fitterer. But he's working hard to rid the franchise of previous mistakes, which is something.

The margin for error is slim. Tepper must also give some extra leeway during this obvious rebuild. After all, it's not like the Panthers can get much worse, right?