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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Dave Gettleman tackling a tough job

By Pat Yasinskas

The Carolina Panthers added plenty of scouting experience Wednesday when they hired Dave Gettleman as their new general manager.

“I was very impressed with Dave’s experience and think he will be a very good fit for our organization,” Panthers owner Jerry Richardson said. “He has an extensive background in personnel and comes from an organization in the New York Giants that I hold in high regard and he played an instrumental role in their success.”

There’s no denying Gettleman’s experience in scouting. Gettleman spent last season as the Giants’ senior pro personnel analyst after spending the previous 13 seasons as the director of pro personnel.

Gettleman, 61, also worked in the scouting departments for the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos at times when those organizations were going to Super Bowls.

That’s all great, but Gettleman is going to have to be more than a scout in this job. Gettleman is inheriting a coach (Ron Rivera) that he didn’t hire. And, as I pointed out Saturday, Rivera already is very much on the hot seat for the 2013 season.

Gettleman and Rivera have to get on the same page quickly. Just a suggestion here, but Gettleman might be wise to learn from the mistakes of predecessor Marty Hurney. If you’re going to invest a ton of money on one position (like running back), you might want to make sure Rivera and his staff plan to place some importance on that position.

But that’s not going to be the only challenge Gettleman is going to face. As I pointed out last week, the Panthers are in a brutal salary-cap situation. Gettleman is going to have to become a salary-cap wizard in a hurry because he’s going to have to trim about $15 million between now and the start of free agency in March.

He’s going to have to make some tough calls on veterans such as Jon Beason, Chris Gamble, DeAngelo Williams, Ron Edwards and Jordan Gross. Once the Panthers are under the gap, I don’t know that Gettleman’s experience with pro personnel is going to come in all that handy with free agency.

That’s only because the Panthers aren’t going to have any room to pursue free agents. They’re going to subtract some veterans from their roster and replace them through the draft.

Gettleman is going to have to be much more than a scout to get this team straightened out. He's going to have to be a jack-of-all trades and pull things together quickly because this team hasn't won since 2008 and patience is wearing very thin.