As Gantt pointed out several days ago, the Panthers have hired former Giants G.M. Ernie Accorsi to help find the franchise’s next General Manager.
The decision that Accorsi makes will resonate through the organization, both now and in the future.
Some think Accorsi will push Giants executive Dave Gettleman for the job, given their past working relationship in New York. Another source believes Accorsi will set aside his relationships and recommend the person whom Accorsi views as best suited for the job, given its specific dynamics and requirements.
The first decision to be made by the new G.M. will be whether to keep the coach. Given that every G.M. wants his own coach, Ron Rivera may not be back for a third season.
Given that every coach wants his own quarterback, the coaching decision made by the new G.M. could impact the future of quarterback Cam Newton.
One of the benefits of the new rookie wage scale is that the dramatically reduced top-five contracts can be traded much more easily, both from the perspective of the cap hit taken by the team that trades the player and the team that absorbs his remaining compensation. Consider Rams quarterback Sam Bradford; new Rams coach Jeff Fisher may have wanted to go in a different direction, but Fisher had no choice but to keep the last player taken first overall under the pre-2011 CBA. The cap hit from moving Bradford would have been too high, and the contract was too much for another team to take, given that the jury is still out on whether the 2010 NFL offensive rookie of the year will justify the huge financial investment.
Given that the jury is still out on whether the 2011 NFL offensive rookie of the year will become a franchise quarterback, the next regime in Carolina may want to go in a different direction.
Sounds crazy? Sure it does. Almost as crazy as Josh McDaniels abruptly getting rid of Jay Cutler in Denver.
That said, owner Jerry Richardson may tell the next G.M. and coach that a commitment to Cam has been made, and that he won’t be traded under any set of circumstances. Richardson has the right to take that position, but it could impact dramatically his ability to hire the best people for the G.M. and coaching jobs, limiting the universe of candidates to folks who genuinely believe that Newton can be what he was drafted to be.
Or, perhaps, resulting in a good liar getting either job — and then trying his damnedest to persuade Richardson to change his mind about Newton.
None of this should be viewed as a report that Newton will be traded. Given the new rookie wage scale and the realities of the NFL when new General Managers and coaches are hired, it’s something that couldn’t happen to top-five players picked in 2010 and earlier, but that could happen now.