Marty Hurney

Panthers Rumors: Hurney, Johnson, Davis

The Panthers’ offseason began on Sunday after a tough loss to the rival Saints. With an eye on the Panthers’ offseason, here’s the latest out of Carolina:

Coaching Notes: Panthers, Cardinals, Bengals, Bucs

There’s plenty of uncertainty when it comes to the Panthers organization, as owner Jerry Richardson is shopping the team and they’re currently rolling with an interim general manager in Marty Hurney. However, the team is looking to establish some stability by locking up head coach Ron Rivera.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the organization is prioritizing locking up their head coach long term. While talks have just started, the reporter expects negotiations to quickly heat up. Meanwhile, many in the organization are hoping that Hurney is promoted to full-time general manager, although the team will presumably explore their options before committing to the executive.

Rivera last signed a three-year deal worth $19.5MM. That deal would take the head coach through the 2018 season, meaning there isn’t a whole lot of urgency for the organization to lock up their head coach this offseason.

Let’s take a look at some more coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Cardinals coach Bruce Arians hasn’t informed the organization about his future, but Rapoport reports that the team is “more confident than ever” that he’ll return. Still, since there is some uncertainty, the organization is exploring other potential options, and Rapoport notes that one of those candidates is Texans coach Bill O’Brien. If available, the Cardinals have made it clear that O’Brien would be atop their list of targets. Arians is under contract through the 2018 season, but there’s been chatter that the 65-year-old could retire to better focus on his health.
  • Unsurprisingly, there’s some concern that Browns head coach Hue Jackson may have lost his locker room, reports Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. This concern recently came to a head when running back Isaiah Crowell “liked” a series of tweets that were critical of Jackson. Meanwhile, Florio notes that there are whispers that some of the team’s defensive players are upset with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and his son, Blake, who is the Browns’ linebackers coach.
  • The Bengals are eyeing Jackson or Jay Gruden for their impending head coaching vacancy, reports Florio. It’d be a homecoming for the pair, as both Jackson and Gruden served as offensive coordinators for Marvin Lewis. The writer notes that Lewis could ultimately be promoted to a front office role.
  • Even if Dirk Koetter sticks around as the Buccaneers head coach, Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders is convinced the organization will require some other coaching changes. Specifically, defensive coordinator Mike Smith could be on the hot seat, and the team could look towards former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley as a replacement.

Panthers’ Marty Hurney Signed Through June

Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney‘s contract runs through June of 2018, sources tell Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk. However, Hurney isn’t a lock to stay in his position until that time, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer.Marty Hurney

Hurney, who previously served as Carolina’s top decision-maker from 2002-12, was hired to replace ex-GM Dave Gettleman in June of this year, meaning his contract is for one calendar year. While part of Hurney’s duties as interim GM are to help identify the Panthers’ next general manager, the timeline of his deal indicates he’ll be around for the 2018 draft. Indeed, Hurney has been spotted on college campuses this fall, per Gantt, meaning he’s preparing for next offseason as if he will still be in charge.

In five months as general manager, Hurney has put his own stamp on the Panthers roster. He extended the contract of linebacker Thomas Davis, added incentives to tight end Greg Olsen‘s deal, and — most recently — traded No. 1 wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to the Bills in exchange for third- and seventh-round picks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Cousins, Brees, Panthers

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins could hit free agency next offseason, which would force the team to engage in a bidding war if it wants to retain him, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see Cousins re-sign in 2018, writes Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. The standoff between the Redskins and Cousins isn’t personal, notes Graziano, who expects him to stay with them if they make him the best offer. Otherwise, Graziano runs down a slew of other potential suitors that could make Cousins one of the richest players in the game if he reaches the open market in March. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggests that a Cousins derby could look a bit like Hall of Fame defensive end Reggie White’s trip to free agency in 1993, when most of the league pursued him before he signed with Green Bay, as well as the sweepstakes for quarterback Peyton Manning in 2012. Manning drew vast interest before joining the Broncos.

More from the NFC:

  • In theory, Saints quarterback Drew Brees is in the same situation as Cousins. Except, Brees has made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to play anywhere but New Orleans, as Mike Triplett of ESPN.com writes. The 38-year-old could have become an unrestricted free agent this offseason and cashed in on a weak QB market, but he instead gave up his leverage by signing a one-year, $24.25MM extension just before the 2016 opener. For a morale boost, Triplett thinks the Saints should do the same thing before the 2017 season kicks off. Then again, since Brees hasn’t given the team any real reason to think he’ll bolt in free agency next year, there isn’t a ton of pressure to get that done.
  • Brandon Beane, who spent 19 years in Carolina’s front office before taking over as the Bills’ general manager in May, endorses the Panthers’ decision to bring in Marty Hurney as the interim GM. “Hiring Marty is an excellent move for the Panthers,” Beane told David Newton of ESPN.com. “He knows the organization inside and out and has great relationships with many people in their front office and coaching staff. I wish him nothing but the best in his return to Carolina.” Most of Beane’s tenure in Carolina was spent working under Hurney, who first served as the team’s GM from 2002-12.
  • Free agent running back DeAngelo Williams would be willing to pull a Hurney and return to the Panthers, with whom he played from 2006-14, but the club should stay away, argues Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer. Not only do the Panthers have a full complement of running backs (Jonathan Stewart, Christian McCaffrey, Curtis Samuel, Fozzy Whittaker and Cameron Artis-Payne), but Fowler points out that Williams has badmouthed the Panthers since his departure and, at 34 years old, has taken a pounding during his career.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Panthers’ Marty Hurney On His New Role

Marty Hurney is back in charge of the Panthers, but he told reporters on Wednesday afternoon that he will not seek to parlay his interim GM role into the full-time position. But, until the job is filled by another executive, Hurney have will full say over the 53-man roster. He’ll be instrumental in helping to find the team’s new GM, but the organization will not target candidates until after the season is through.

Hurney also believes that he has the trust of owner Jerry Richardson to make both short and long term decisions for the team, including contracts that may extend beyond the 2017 season.

Here’s a look at some more highlights from today’s presser. All links go to Jordan Rodrigue and Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer on Twitter, unless noted otherwise:

Marty Hurney (vertical)

On talks that he is too old or too far removed from the job:

I wouldn’t come here if I didn’t think I had the energy, the knowledge and the insight it will take to help this organization.” (link)

On whether the firing of Dave Gettleman was a rash decision by the Panthers:

I can tell you knowing Jerry Richardson, rash decisions aren’t made. It’s about winning games.” (link)

On how he’ll approach the job differently this time:

I want the analytical part of my brain to take over the emotional part of my brain. Some mistakes may have been due to that.” (link)

On Gettleman:

Dave Gettleman did a terrific job and I never lost pride in this organization.” (link)

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL: Panthers Did Not Violate Rooney Rule

When the Panthers hired Marty Hurney to be the team’s interim GM without first interviewing any minority candidates, some wondered if the team was in violation of the Rooney Rule. Apparently, that’s not the case. The NFL tells ESPN.com’s David Newton (Twitter link) that the Panthers did not run afoul of the mandate since Hurney has only been given the job on an interim basis.

When the Panthers hire their true GM down the line, they will be required to satisfy the Rooney Rule. That mandate still applies, even if Hurney somehow winds up being the full-time hire.

It’s conceivable that the league will look to close this loophole next offseason. Recently, the NFL “informally” extended the Rooney Rule to also cover offensive and defensive coordinator positions.

Latest On Panthers, Hurney, Gettleman

Here’s a look at the Panthers:

  • Former Panthers GM Dave Gettleman was known to be a jerk in contract meetings if he didn’t get his way, sources tell Jordan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer. However, Rodrigue argues that it’s not entirely fair to vilify Gettleman for the way things sometimes played out in those negotiations. Her feeling is that an NFL franchise needs something of a good cop/bad cop act in order to satisfy players while also keeping cap restrictions in mind. Gettleman’s job was to be mindful of the finances, and he did a good job of that after inheriting a salary cap nightmare. That enabled owner Jerry Richardson to have positive relationships with his players and create a largely welcoming culture. Eventually, these two approaches clashed to the point where Richardson felt the need to fire Gettleman just days before training camp.
  • The firing of Gettleman took Panthers coach Ron Rivera by surprise, as Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer writes. “The decision was made, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Rivera said. “The biggest thing is Dave did a great job for us. He helped me to grow as a coach, he helped to put the final pieces of the puzzle together and he helped us get to the Super Bowl.” Although a major change is being made in the front office, Rivera is reportedly safe. And, for the next year, Marty Hurney will be back at the helm. Hurney first hired Rivera back in 2011.
  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wonders if the Panthers could run into some issues with Rooney Rule compliance. The Rooney Rule stipulates that at least one minority candidate must be interviewed for a major role such as GM, but the team seemingly conducted a one-man search before giving the job to Hurney. Before the hire was made official, Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten told Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer that the “interim” designation was a new wrinkle for them, but he still hoped that Richardson would follow protocol.

Panthers Hire Marty Hurney As Interim GM

What’s old is new in Carolina. The Panthers have officially appointed Marty Hurney as their interim GM. Marty Hurney (vertical)

I never lost the connection with the organization,” said Hurney, who worked for the Panthers from 1998-2012 with the final ten years spent as GM. “I’ve gained a lot of perspective and have looked at things in different ways. I think I can help this team in a lot of areas. I think I’ve grown. And I feel I’m better prepared to come in this time and do a better job than I did over the 12 years I was general manager last time.”

In the wake of Dave Gettleman‘s firing, a number of highly-respected rising front office stars were floated out as potential replacements. But, because of the unusual timing, the Panthers felt the need to install someone immediately in a temporary capacity. The Panthers will have Hurney at the helm for 2017 before possibly looking into executives like Trent Kirchner of the Seahawks, Ryan Cowden of the Titans, and their own Don Gregory. When they do begin interviewing candidates, Hurney “will help the team identify its next general manager,” per the team’s press release.

Hurney, who will be leaving his post at ESPN Radio in Charlotte to take the job, knows the roster pretty intimately. He was responsible for bringing in some of the Panthers’ biggest stars, including team captains Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Greg Olsen, Ryan Kalil, and Charles Johnson. He’s also the man who hired head coach Ron Rivera in 2011.

His relationships with Davis and Olsen could have a major influence on their contract situations this offseason. Davis, 34, is entering the final year of his deal and has been pushing for an extension. Olsen, meanwhile, has two years to go on his deal but is hoping to get a reworked contract that will make him one of the league’s highest paid tight ends.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Likely To Name Marty Hurney Interim GM

The Panthers are set to bring back former general manager Marty Hurney to take over for the fired David Gettleman. Hurney is meeting with Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero, who reports that the club will hire Hurney on an interim basis if the interview goes well. Hurney would run the Panthers through 2017, and the team would use that time to vet full-time candidates (Twitter link).

Marty Hurney

Hurney works for ESPN Radio in Charlotte, but he previously served as the Panthers’ GM from 2002-12 and oversaw three playoff teams – one of which earned a Super Bowl berth. The Panthers went just 80-85 during that span, but Hurney was nonetheless responsible for bringing in a few of their current linchpins in Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Greg Olsen.

In reuniting with Hurney, the Panthers would pass on reported GM candidates in their own director of college scouting, Jeff Morrow, Titans director of player personnel Ryan Cowden and Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen. However, those three (and others) could still be possibilities down the line for the Panthers, who look poised to turn to Hurney, head coach Ron Rivera and director of team administration/salary cap specialist Rob Rogers in a temporary power structure, as Albert Breer of The MMQB tweets.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Potential Candidates For Panthers GM Job

To the surprise of many, the Panthers are in search of a new general manager. It’s too early to know who will be in the mix for the job, but speculation is already rampant among those in the know. Here are the early potential candidates for Carolina:

  • Seahawks executive Trent Kirchner spent eight years in Carolina as a scout and could be among those considered, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweets. Kirchner interviewed for the Colts and 49ers GM positions earlier this offseason before they went to Chris Ballard and John Lynch, respectively.
  • Titans director of player personnel Ryan Cowden and Panthers director of player personnel Don Gregory are two names to watch, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Cowden was among those to interview for the Chiefs vacancy this summer and spent 16 years working for the Panthers before joining Tennessee.
  • The Panthers’ highest ranking personnel executive left in the building Mark Koncz, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes. He was promoted to personnel director in May from pro director.
  • It’s “just a hunch,” but Alex Marvez of The Sporting News (on Twitter) wouldn’t be surprised if former Chiefs GM John Dorsey ultimately becomes the Panthers’ next GM.
  • The Panthers likely going to go with an interim GM rather than rush to a decision one month before the season starts, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer tweets. With that in mind, former GM Marty Hurney makes some sense. Hurney, who was relieved of his post as GM during the 2012 season, currently works for ESPN Radio in Charlotte. Under his watch, the Panthers drafted some of the team’s biggest stars, including Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, and Thomas Davis.