In a surprising move, the Carolina Panthers relieved general manager Dave Gettleman of his duties, just over a week before training camp opens.Gettleman took over as general manager of the team in 2013. Carolina won the NFC South and made the playoffs each of his first three seasons, culminating with a trip to Super Bowl 50 in February, 2016. The team slipped to 6-10 last year.Despite the on-field success, the Panthers struggled to retain popular veterans under Gettleman. The team parted with 13-year veteran Steve Smith in 2014. Last year, Gettleman was unable to come to a contract agreement with franchise player cornerback Josh Norman. The team eventually removed the tag and lost him as an unrestricted free agent, shortly before the draft.Entering training camp this year, Gettleman appeared to be taking a hard-line approach with two more popular veteranslinebacker Thomas Davis and tight end Greg Olsen. The two Pro Bowlers are both looking for new contracts.Olsen, quarterback Cam Newton’s favorite target, has threatened a training camp holdout if he doesn’t receive a new deal. Davis, who has returned from multiple knee constructions to be one of the team’s on-field leaders on defense, is entering the final year of his contract.Owner Jerry Richardson apparently wasn’t comfortable with Gettleman handling the negotiations.”After much thought and a long evaluation of our football operations, I have decided to relieve Dave Gettleman of his duties as general manager,” Richardson said in a statement from the team. “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.”According to research by ESPN, this is the latest in the offseason that a team has cut ties with a general manager in at least five years.The change comes two months after Brandon Beane, the team’s assistant GM and an expected successor to Gettleman, left to take over as general manager of the Buffalo Bills.Until a successor is named, director of player personnel Mark Koncz and director of pro personnel Matt Allen are the highest-ranking members of the team’s front office. Both were moved into their current positions in May, following Beane’s departure.
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