Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman isn’t one to tip his hand.
But sometimes, the dots are too easy to connect.
Gettleman said Wednesday at the Scouting Combine that left tackle Michael Oher still wasn’t cleared from the concussion protocol, after the injury early last season which cost him all but three games.
“You can’t deny what’s going on,” Gettleman said. “We’re in the unknown and we’re going to move forward. We’ve got a plan and we’ll just see where it goes. I can’t give you anything more than that.”
And if that sounds ominous for Oher, it probably should. Especially considering Gettleman shrugged when asked about the talent in this year’s draft class at tackle, but perked up when asked about the multitude of qualified tackles in free agency. With Russell Okung, Ryan Clady and Kelvin Beachum joining a pool of veteran tackles including Matt Kalil, Andrew Whitworth, and others, the Panthers ought to be able to find a qualified candidate in free agency.
And with right tackle Mike Remmers also a free agent, it’s perhaps their biggest need this offseason.
“It’s crazy. It’s unusual,” Gettleman said of the depth at the position. “You’ve got some guys coming off injuries. Denver made the decision they made. Jets made the decision they made. To answer your question, it’s unusual.”
Gettleman traced his thought process back to last year, when pulling the franchise tag from Josh Norman forced him to draft three cornerbacks, and he said he didn’t want to get in that spot again.
“I’m not going to lie, you’ve got to entertain it, of course,” Gettleman said. “Free agency is to set up the draft and I want to put us back in that spot.”
That probably means spending more in free agency than they have in past years, but Gettleman getting them back on solid fiscal footing makes that more of a possibility than it has been when he was forced to be a bargain shopper.