Panthers cut ties with general manager Dave Gettleman after four seasons

Just nine days out from the start of training camp, the Panthers have announced they've fired general manager Dave Gettleman.

"After much thought and a long evaluation of our football operations, I have decided to relieve Dave Gettleman of his duties as general manager," owner Jerry Richardson said in a statement Monday. "I want to thank Dave for the role he played in our success over the past four seasons. While the timing of this decision is not ideal, a change is needed."

The move is nothing short of a stunner: Carolina allowed Gettleman to go through the process of free agency and the 2017 NFL Draft before releasing him just before training camp begins on July 26.

Gettleman made multiple moves in the offseason to remake the Panthers offense, signing Matt Kalil to a large contract as the presumptive protector of Cam Newton's blindside. The GM also reworked the Panthers offense by adding Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel with the first two picks.

However, it is fair to wonder if the handling of franchise favorite players was wearing thin on owner Jerry Richardson. This includes, of course, the departure of Steve Smith and DeAngelo Williams, both of whom publicly expressed disdain for the franchise after leaving. Smith has not been welcome back to retire his number despite an interest in doing so. 

And there's the matter of current players. Thomas Davis, one of Richardson's favorite players and a stalwart in the community, was due for a new contract at the age of 34. It is fair to question if Gettleman was going to give him what he wanted. 

Tight end Greg Olsen was also interested in a new contract and had not received much in the way of negotiations from Gettleman. 

The theory of this being more personal and less performance-based gained theory pretty quickly when a lot of former Panthers players took to social media and lashed out at Gettleman.

Notable were Smith -- who has held a grudge for a while against Gettleman about the way he was released -- and Williams -- who called the GM a "snake" on Twitter and who also has held a grudge against Gettleman over his release -- the latter of whom called Gettleman a "snake" on Twitter.

The Panthers went 6-10 last season, a highly disappointing year for Carolina given the prior year the Panthers were 15-1 and in the Super Bowl

But this decision, which again came eight days before training camp began, feels more and more like something that is not related to the business of football. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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