New Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman inherited practically everything on hand, making minimal moves in his first offseason in charge.
And while he said that he thinks the Panthers have their quarterback of the future in Cam Newton, there was a condition on that.
“Cam has had the best two years of any rookie quarterback in NFL history. And everybody talks about the other young [quarterbacks],” Gettleman said, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “What he’s done has been completely lost in the sauce because of the elephant in the room – the 13-19 record. . . .
Of course, it’s hard to know how Gettleman perceives the equation in front of him, and how much to put on Newton, how much on the parts around him or the coaching staff.
Gettleman also said he didn’t place any specific standard on coach Ron Rivera, whom he didn’t meet until after he accepted the G.M. job.
“I didn’t set any expectations. I think that’s a mistake. My goal was to put them in a position to be successful. … That’s been my goal all along,” Gettleman said. “I’m giving him all my support and he knows it. We have a very good relationship.”
Of course, everything is an evaluation for Gettleman this year.
If the team wins, many of the pieces assembled already could be in place for a few years to come. But if Rivera gets them off to a 2-8 start for the third straight year, he won’t get a fourth chance at a frantic December finish.
As for Newton, they hold his rights for two more years, then have a team option for a fifth year, after which point the franchise tag would be in play. So there’s no rush to decide what to do at quarterback.
If he plays well, they’ll know in time whether they want to invest in him for the long term. But that decision, like the decisions on most people in the organization, isn’t one that’s being made right now.