Panthers GM On Veterans, Free Agency, Offseason Priorities

Dave Gettleman has already experienced plenty of success during his brief tenure as the Panthers general manager. Carolina has won consecutive division titles for the first time in team history, and their 12-4 mark in 2013 was the best finish by the organization since 2008. The Panthers finished an underwhelming 7-8-1 in 2014, but they still managed to get past the Wild Card round with a 27-16 victory over the Cardinals.

This offseason could be a big one for the organization as they look to take the next step. Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer sat down with Gettleman to discuss the team’s offseason plans, including the draft and free agency. The entire piece is worth a read, but we pulled out some of the more interesting highlights, which you can find below.

On whether it’s realistic for the team to bring back offensive lineman Byron Bell:

“Anything’s feasible. You’re talking hypothetical again. I’ve said this before, we look to upgrade everywhere. Because of my theory of taking the best player available, we’re going to take the best player available. And if it gives you a glut at that position, so be it. That position will be a hell of a strength. That’s the way we approach it.”

On how much cap room he’d like to have heading into free agency:

“Sitting pretty for anybody would be $20 million under. Here’s what people have to understand, you can’t spend all that money because you have to have your season reverse. And the season reverse has to be $5-6 million. You’ve got to have that. You always want to be in a position where if you get injuries and have to make an add, I don’t go to (director of pro scouting) Mark Koncz and say, ‘I need a receiver, and by the way we don’t have any money for anyone but a zero.’ And I’ve been in that situation when I was a pro (scouting) guy when no one was there.”

On when he’ll start discussing the future with some veteran players, including running back DeAngelo Williams:

“When it’s right. I’m not going to tell you a date. When it’s right. The biggest thing is, they’re men, they’re people, and I’m going to treat them with the utmost respect. The conversations will take place when it’s time.”

On the team’s biggest priority this offseason outside of the draft and free agency:

“The biggest priority is to continue to work the plan we’re working. To understand that it’s a process. It takes time, and we feel we’ve made strong strides with the plan. We’ve been patient and we haven’t pressed and haven’t tried to force square pegs into round holes. That’s the biggest priority is understanding that we’re getting there. You’ve got to keep working the plan. You can’t make emotional decisions or snap judgments.”

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