CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Dave Gettleman isn't sure how good the Carolina Panthers will be this season. But the team's new general manager said he likes the way his team is positioned heading into training camp after an offseason filled with salary cap cost-cutting measures.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Dave Gettleman isn't sure how good the Carolina Panthers will be this season.
But the team's new general manager said he likes the way his team is positioned heading into training camp after an offseason filled with salary cap cost-cutting measures.
Gettleman was hired in January and inherited a 7-9 team $16 million over the NFL salary cap.
He convinced several veteran players to restructure their contracts or take less money, including running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, tight end Greg Olsen and offensive tackle Jordan Gross.
That meant only having to release one starter -- cornerback Chris Gamble.
With those moves and a few others Gettleman cleared enough room to sign a handful of role players in free agency at bargain salaries, including two former Super Bowl champions in linebacker Chase Blackburn and receiver Domenik Hixon, as well as defensive backs Drayton Florence, D.J. Moore and Mike Mitchell.
Carolina also managed to re-sign starting defensive tackle Dwan Edwards and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, preventing them from escaping in free agency.
All in all, Gettleman thought it was a solid offseason.
"We obviously had issues early on and we addressed them," Gettleman said on Thursday. "I think we've come through the other side pretty well."
What the other side brings remains to be seen.
Gettleman said he's happy with the play of quarterback Cam Newton during minicamp, and likes what he's seen from the incoming rookie class. But he's the first to admit he doesn't know what to expect when the team reports to Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., on July 25 for the start of training camp.
"I feel good about the way we're positioned right now," Gettleman said. "Obviously, you're not going to know until the pads go on. Like everybody else (in the league), you don't know."
Gettleman feels strong about where the Panthers are in some important positions including quarterback, running back, defensive line and linebacker.
He knows the Panthers are not particularly deep at others, but said that is the nature of the business.
Gettleman has stressed the importance of "being patient" with the young players on the roster and giving them an opportunity to develop.
"Because of the 32 teams and the salary cap it's hard to have quality depth everywhere," Gettleman said.
The big key for the Panthers will be starting strong.
Carolina opened 1-5 the last two seasons under coach Ron Rivera and was never in the playoff picture at any point during that span. So while the Panthers won their last four games in 2012 the reality is it didn't really matter.
Rivera has been driving home to players the importance of being prepared for the season opener and the importance of winning in September and October.
"It's about starting strong and playing very well at the very beginning," Rivera said earlier this week. "I think if we can pick up where we left off last year finishing strong and playing strong and doing things the right way it will take care of itself."
Gettleman said he's noticed players approached the team's recently completed OTAs and minicamp with a sense of urgency.
"I feel really good about where are," Gettleman said. "Cam's had a really good spring in all facets of the game. Really at the end of the day, I think this is a club that understands when it's time to go to work. And they've really had a heck of a spring."