New Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman can’t think too much about the draft at this point, as he has more immediate concerns.
“The first thing we have to do is make March 12,” Gettleman said from the NFL Scouting Combine.
The Panthers are working to get under the salary cap, and will have to cut players and restructure contracts in the coming weeks to get to a point where adding players is a consideration. He’s already restructured the deals of center Ryan Kalil and running back Jonathan Stewart, and knows he’s going to have to do more work. He didn’t get into the specifics, but many expect the Panthers will be cutting cornerback Chris Gamble among others, along with reworking deals for players such as left tackle Jordan Gross and linebacker Jon Beason.
Gettleman made a specific point of having a long-range plan for the Panthers, saying he wanted to get the team viable for the long-term.
At the same time, he said he liked their base of talent, saying there was no reason the team couldn’t compete.
But he offered a seemingly contradictory assessment of his running back situation, when asked about the long range plan for Stewart and DeAngelo Williams.
“Can we keep both of them? Decisions have to be made,” he said. “But I don’t see why not.”
Well, the hyper-committment of resources to a position other teams have devalued is part of the reason the Panthers are in the salary cap hole they’re in now, a hole he’s trying to fill in for more than one year.