Carolina Panthers fire general manager Marty Hurney for second time

By Matt Johnson
Nov 8, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; A general view of a Carolina Panthers helmet during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers have become the latest NFL team to make organizational changes this season, firing general manager Marty Hurney on Monday.

Just two days after Carolina lost to the Green Bay Packers, dropping the club’s record to 4-10 on the year, it has now fired Hurney for the second time.

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Carolina Panthers fire GM Marty Hurney

As first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Carolina Panthers have officially announced they are parting ways with Hurney. Heading into an offseason that is expected to be pivotal for the franchise, the Panthers will be guided by a new voice in the front office.

“I think sometimes you just need a restart, a refresh,” Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper said, via statement. “We did it last year on the coaching side. Maybe you could say it should have been done before on the GM side. Maybe it should have been. I’m sure people may say that, or otherwise, on both sides.”

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This marks the second time Hurney has been fired as the team’s general manager. The team moved on from him in Oct. 2012, but brought him back in 2017.

Since taking over as the club’s owner, Tepper has sought to bring sweeping changes to the organization. He lured Matt Rhule away from Baylor last offseason, immediately making him one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL.

While the Panthers are 4-10, the team has been extremely competitive this season. Playing without Christian McCaffrey for a majority of the year, the Panthers have close losses to the Las Vegas Raiders (34-30), Kansas City Chiefs (33-31), New Orleans Saints (27-24) and Green Bay (24-16).

After helping reshape the team’s culture in his first season, Rhule will play a key role in determining who becomes Carolina’s next general manager.

“You look at successful organizations, and there’s a certain alignment between the head coach and the GM,” Tepper said. “To think that you can do that without some sort of alignment is nuts. So to not have a head coach with some input into that is stupid. I don’t want to be stupid, OK?”

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The Carolina Panthers will immediately begin their search for a new general manager. With the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions and Houston Texans already conducting active pursuits, timing is crucial for the Panthers.

A few candidates are already emerging for the opening. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, there are already at least four names to keep an eye on to become general manager in Carolina.

  • New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio: Pursued by the Houston Texans, before New England filed tampering charges, Caserio is Bill Belichick’s right-hand man and has been with the organization for two decades.
  • New Orleans Saints assistant GM/college scouting director Jeff Ireland: Served as the Miami Dolphins general manager from 2008-’13. Since joining the Saints in 2015, the team has drafted incredibly well.
  • Buffalo Bills associate director of college scouting Lake Dawson: A former wide receiver with the Chiefs (1994-’97), Dawson started his career in the front office with the Tennessee Titans (2011-’15). Worked in Buffalo’s front office since 2017.
  • Indianapolis Colts assistant general manager Ed Dodds: Turned down the Cleveland Browns last offseason. He played an instrumental role in the Seattle Seahawks drafting Russell Wilson and helped build the “Legion of Boom” during his tenure. Now with the Colts, he is a highly-coveted GM candidate.

There’s also another potential candidate to keep in mind. Rumors are circulating that Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert could depart in 2021. Given Tepper used to be a minority owner of the Steelers and reportedly loves Colbert’s work, he could also be a name to keep an eye on.

Heading into the offseason with a strong foundation, a top-10 pick and cap space, there will be plenty of candidates interested in becoming the Carolina Panthers general manager.