NFC Notes: Panthers, Norman, Dez, Trubisky

Dave Gettleman‘s ouster as the Panthers general manager stands as this week’s most shocking NFL story, and Joe Person and Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer detail some of the reasons behind his firing. Gettleman’s “brusque management style” and his reshaping of Carolina’s roster after its 15-1, NFC-winning campaign in 2015 contributed to his demise, with his decision to rescind cornerback Josh Norman‘s franchise tag in 2016 helping to decide his fate. Letting Norman loose on the free agent market meant allowing a No. 1-caliber corner to walk away without the club receiving compensation, and it irked some of the team’s players.

A year later, the departure of ex-assistant general manager Brandon Beane also weakened Gettleman’s grip on the GM job. Beane took over as Buffalo’s GM in May, which cost Gettleman the good cop to his bad cop. The loss of Beane negatively affected Gettleman’s work relationships, according to Person and Fowler, as the former “acted as a go-between among the front office, coaching staff and locker room,” the reporters explain. Former Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert, who signed with the Bills after Gettleman released him in February, confirmed that Beane was a valuable figure in Carolina. “As players we all love Beane. We all love being around him,” said Tolbert. “He’s part of the reason we did what we did. I’m happy to have him in Buffalo now, I can tell you that much.”

More from the NFC:

  • Speaking of Norman, who’s now with the Redskins, he could end up as a cap casualty next offseason if he doesn’t make more of an impact this year, suggests Rich Tandler of CSN Mid-Atlantic. With 14 infractions, Norman led the league in penalties last year, Tandler points out. However, it seems he has otherwise lived up to Washington’s five-year, $75MM investment thus far. Norman picked off three passes and forced two fumbles last season – a slight drop-off from four and three, respectively, in 2015 – started all 16 games, easily led Redskins defenders in snaps (1,057) and ranked 24th among Pro Football Focus’ 109 qualified corners. Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that designating the soon-to-be 30-year-old Norman a post-June 1 cut in 2018 would save the Redskins a healthy $14MM and leave them with a manageable $3MM in dead money next season.
  • A lack of punctuality has been a problem for Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant throughout his career, and his issues with reporting to team functions on time have already cropped up this year. Bryant made it to training camp three hours late on Friday, relays Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, though the player informed Jane Slater of NFL Network that he has been dealing with sinus infections and headaches. He’s now working with the Cowboys’ training staff to alleviate his sinus troubles, adds Rapoport. Further, Bryant apologized to Cowboys coaches and “took full responsibility” for his tardiness, writes Slater, but it’s still likely the team will fine him, reports Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram (Twitter links here).
  • Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky‘s rookie contract contains partial offsets, tweets Albert Breer of The MMQB. His deal is similar to the one Marcus Mariota signed with the Titans in 2015, when he, like Trubisky this year, entered the league as the second overall pick in his draft class. Mariota and the Titans agreed to make his base salaries (a total of $2.28MM) subject to offsets, but the vast majority of his $24.214MM pact is protected.
  • Cardinals running back Chris Johnson‘s one-year deal includes a $1MM base value, $200K in guarantees and a chance to earn more in incentives, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).
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