Marty Hurney named GM of the Carolina Panthers
The NFL offseason is already in full swing which means teams will start looking at what changes they need to make for 2018. Feb. 21, the Carolina Panthers named Marty Hurney as their General Mananger for the second time. Hurney was Carolina’s GM from 2002-2012 and was responsible for bringing in players like Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Jonathan Stewart, and more notably Cam Newton.
During Hurney’s first tenure with Carolina, he saw the team grab multiple playoff berths, two NFC South titles, and a Super Bowl appearance in 2004.
The Panthers earned a playoff berth last season and lost a close game to the New Orleans Saints. With hopes of winning a title before key players Davis, Julius Peppers, and center Ryan Kalil hang up their cleats, let’s look at what Hurney’s appointment means for this franchise.
What Hurney’s promotion means for the Carolina Panthers
Good coach-GM relationship
Ron Rivera came to Carolina in 2012. As a first-time head coach, he needed a GM to believe in him. It was easy to establish a good working relationship.
Drafting Cam Newton first overall in the 2011 draft helped the franchise get over some of the quarterback issues they were left with from the John Fox era. This was a big move for Hurney and proved he could draft well. This built a trust between he and the new coach. Now is his chance to build on that trust with a second chance.
Carolina hired former San Diego Chargers head coach and Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, as their new OC. Since Turner and Rivera have such a good work relationship, that should translate into building the team.
Fresh drafting perspective
The Panthers will be losing key players in the linebacker and offensive line positions and foster the need to improve in the secondary. Hurney is inheriting some of the players he helped to get the first time around. But with that, comes the reality of how much time has lapsed since then which means it’s time to get fresh blood in there.
The Panthers shipped Kelvin Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills last October for third and seventh-round picks in the upcoming draft in April. Benjamin had the height that threatened opposing teams defenses but the inconsistency in his catches left big questions about whether his production was something the franchise wanted to keep around which ultimately led to his departure.
Devin Funchess is clearly the new number one receiver for the Panthers with Curtis Samuel, the second-year receiver out of Ohio State, there to help with speed and stretching the field. Funchess still needs a strong number two and could find that with Tre’Quan Smith coming out of UCF. He’s over six feet tall, averaged about 19.5 yards-per-catch in 2017 and gives back that towering threat with Funchess and Newton.
Mario Addison, so far, has earned his $22.5 million that he agreed to when he re-signed last February. He recorded 11 sacks during the 2017 season and nine and a half the season before. He’ll need some help coming off the edge and though Peppers hasn’t seemed to miss a step in his return to Carolina, it doesn’t look like he’ll be around for too much longer.
There are so many areas for the Panthers to focus on this April. A big test for Hurney will be how he handles each of their six draft picks.
Carolina clearly had success from 2002-12. Not all seasons ended in playoff appearances but Hurney always bounced back. His biggest misstep was drafting Jimmy Clausen in 2010. Despite his dismissal, his return means that the franchise and Rivera have faith in his job in the position.
Not only does Hurney get a second chance to prove himself to the Panthers, but he gets to do it under the reign of a new owner as well. Plenty of firsts for the GM.
Hurney could be with this team for a long time to come. Only time will tell how well he does in his old/new role. His biggest test comes with how quickly he puts together a championship-caliber team. Let’s see how he lives up to the task.