An NFL insider claimed general manager Scott Fitterer's offseason clinic has put the Carolina Panthers in a strong position to progress in 2023.
Releasing the shackles and increasing responsibilities this offseason for general manager Scott Fitterer has finally allowed the front office figure to flourish. The Carolina Panthers moved away from their previous recruitment model that saw inept head coach Matt Rhule get the final say on personnel - something that was drastically needed after three years of poor football and a toxic college-type atmosphere.
Fitterer's been aggressive, returned a level of collaboration between those in influential positions, developed an instant working rapport with head coach Frank Reich, and put Carolina in a better financial position despite the wealth of free-agent signings. Much will depend on how these acquisitions mesh in the coming weeks, but the Panthers are quietly fancied by many to become a dark horse postseason challenger if everything goes well.
Carolina Panthers can make noise after Scott Fitterer's clinic
This was a sentiment echoed by Matt Lombardo from Heavy.com. The insider lauded Fitterer's 'clinic' in putting everything around quarterback Bryce Young as the primary reason why the Panthers could excel to kick off their new regime in a positive manner.
"Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer just put on a clinic of how to surround a rookie quarterback with everything necessary for immediate success … in the span of one offseason. Not only did the Panthers trade up with the Bears to select Bryce Young, but few positions matter more to a young quarterback’s development than tight end, and Carolina signed [Hayden] Hurst, fresh off a season in which Joe Burrow had a 97.1 passer rating on his 65 targets. The trio of [Adam] Thielen, [D.J.] Chark, and [Miles] Sanders give the offense a veteran core of experienced playmakers. Sanders in particular has the potential to significantly boost Young, because of his prowess as a receiver out of the backfield, after catching 124 passes through the first four seasons of his career."- Matt Lombardo, Heavy.com
This was Fitterer's goal from the moment he got into the building. He's smart enough to know what was transpiring and how things would play out under Rhule, who demonstrated little in the way of competency and was no doubt frustrating to work alongside.
Now there is a common purpose, far more professionalism, and a genuine sense of belief that the Panthers could be building something special with Fitterer calling the shots. Couple this with Reich's experienced presence leading an all-star staff, and Lombardo feels like they can make some noise in the wide-open NFC South.
"Frank Reich’s calming presence, along with reliable veteran weapons give Young the chance to prove immediately why the Panthers chose him No. 1 overall. Likewise, Carolina playing in a division with no clear-cut favorite, and with a young core in place, make it possible that Fitterer just might have his team on the fast-track to postseason success."- Matt Lombardo, Heavy.com
This is the latest reporter to project big things for the Panthers next season. Carolina is a proud community franchise that's languished among the NFL's bottom feeders for too long - but there are now expectations not seen since the mid-2010s in terms of what can be accomplished.
Fitterer can only do so much, obviously. He's not a coach and won't be on the gridiron when competitive games arrive, but what the respected figure had done is shift the landscape and lay the foundations for what can become sustained profitability for an organization that was on its knees this time last year.