If the Carolina Panthers go out-of-house to hire a new general manager, a case can be made that former Bears boss Jerry Angelo should be included in the list of qualified candidates to replace the recently fired Marty Hurney.
With Angelo at the helm from 2001-2011, the Bears won 95 regular-season games, four division titles and earned a berth in Super Bowl XLI. While there were certainly draft-related issues that should not be ignored or overlooked, Angelo was responsible for the selections of Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, Matt Forte, Devin Hester and Henry Melton, not to mention the free agent signings of Julius Peppers, Tim Jennings, Thomas Jones, John Tait, Ruben Brown, Robbie Gould and Roberto Garza, plus the trade that brought Jay Cutler to Chicago from Denver in 2009.
Angelo also hired Lovie Smith who appears on the verge of inking his third contract extension in the offseason and is already one of the most successful head coaches in team franchise history.
In regards to the current situation in Carolina, Angelo worked with current Panthers head coach Ron Rivera for three seasons when Rivera served as Smith's defensive coordinator from 2004-2006. Whenever a new general manager walks into a situation where he has a pre-existing relationship with the head coach, it tends to put the entire building at ease and place the focus squarely on the business of winning football games, not on worrying about who's going to get fired.
Angelo also thought highly enough to bring Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski in for an interview for the vacant Bears OC job in 2010 that ultimately went to Mike Martz.
He did make a mistake trading tight end Greg Olsen away to the Panthers, but Angelo clearly values Olsen's talent, otherwise the Bears wouldn't have selected him in the first round in 2007.
Certainly, Angelo's resume isn't without blemishes. The 2007 draft that yielded Olsen turned out to be a disaster when high picks Dan Bazuin and Michael Okwo flopped. Then there was the release last week of 2008 first-round choice Chris Williams who never panned out the way the Bears envisioned. Same with Cedric Benson in 2005. Free agent signings Brandon Manumaleuna, Marion Barber, Sam Hurd and Roy Williams were also suspect to say the least.
And it is fair to wonder if he'd be the right guy in Carolina since the Panthers are searching for a way to build the offense around quarterback Cam Newton, and offense, as we know in Chicago, isn't Angelo's strong suit.
But to simply brush off Angelo as a viable candidate would be a mistake. He did some good things in Chicago. People who have done much less in the NFL have received second chances.
Why shouldn't Angelo?