Panthers suddenly fire GM 8 days before training camp in ‘absolute stunner’

The Carolina Panthers on Monday announced that Dave Gettleman has been “relived of his duties” as GM.

The move came as a surprise to much of the NFL world, who didn’t see the firing coming, especially this close to training camp, which opens July 26, according to their website.

In a statement, team owner Jerry Richardson said, “After much thought and a long evaluation of our football operations, I have decided to relieve Dave Gettleman of his duties as general manager … While the timing of this decision is not ideal, a change is needed.”

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Gettleman and Richardson may not have been getting along well, dating back to the Panthers rescinding a franchise tag offer to Josh Norman. Norman then left and signed a five-year, $US75 million contract with the Washington Redskins.

Albert Breer of the MMQB reported that the move is an “absolute stunner” and has caught Panthers staffers off-guard.

Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer reported that players were just as surprised:

Norman also weighed in:

After making and losing the Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos in 2015, the Panthers struggled in 2016, following up a 15-1 campaign with a 6-10 season. Cam Newton regressed and seemed to play through injury at times, and the secondary defence, which was stifling in 2015, often got exposed by opposing receivers.

It’s unclear who the Panthers will hire to replace Gettleman, but the timing is certainly odd, particularly with the season so near and the draft and free agency in the rearview.