In a stunning move that comes nine days before players report to training camp, the Carolina Panthers announced Monday that Dave Gettleman is out as the team’s general manager, effective immediately.
“After much thought and a long evaluation of our football operations, I have decided to relieve Dave Gettleman of his duties as general manager,” Panthers owner Jerry Richardson said in a statement. “I want to thank Dave for the role he played in our success over the past four seasons. While the timing of this decision is not ideal, a change is needed.”
The Panthers went 6-10 and missed the playoffs last season, Gettleman’s fourth year at the helm, but they went 34-13-1 over the previous three years and advanced to the Super Bowl after the 2015 season. The 66-year-old Gettleman worked in the Giants’ front office from 1999 to 2012 before being hired to replace longtime Panthers GM Marty Hurney before the 2013 season.
The Panthers didn’t give a reason for Gettleman’s firing, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport suggested that Gettleman’s decision to rescind star cornerback Josh Norman’s franchise tag last April soured the GM’s relationship with Richardson. Norman, who later signed as a free agent with the Washington Redskins, seemed to react to Monday’s news on Twitter.
— *Joshua R. Norman (@J_No24) July 17, 2017
Former Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith Jr., who was released by Carolina before the 2014 season and later criticized Gettleman and Panthers Coach Ron Rivera for how they treated him leading up to his departure, also weighed in on Gettleman’s firing.
— Steve Smith Sr (@89SteveSmith) July 17, 2017
Free agent running back DeAngelo Williams, who was released by the Panthers after the 2014 season, tweeted that he’d be open to a reunion with Carolina “due to the firing of that snake Dave Gettleman.” That leaves the Cowboys, Jaguars and Browns as the only teams for which Williams, 34, refuses to play.
I want to publicly say @Panthers is off my list of teams I won’t play for due to the firing of that snake Dave gettleman! ✊
— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) July 17, 2017
It’s been a tumultuous offseason for the Panthers. In February, Danny Morrison resigned as team president, a position he’d held since 2009. And assistant general manager Brandon Beane left the Panthers in May to become general manager of the Buffalo Bills.