Good question, Mr. Scot
I see it this way--Hurney's spending spree in 2011 had lasting impact, since the contracts were largely guaranteed and about 4 years long. That has kept us from bringing in quality free agents and has actually caused us to lose existing players because we could not afford to retain them.
A director is only as good as his actors. If the movie sucks, it can be for many reasons, but if the acting sucks, there is no need to look past that. If you can't compete in free agency because you are paying players no longer on the roster or those who spend more time on the sideline than between them, it is difficult to win. What Hurney did with contracts (starting with jake Delhomme) reeked of desperation and an inferiority complex--it was as if he thought he had to overpay to make Charlotte attractive. Those contracts remained when he was fired--we are still dealing with them, both directly and indirectly. For example, nobody is talking about Gross this year because he retired and lost 100 lbs. HOWEVER, go back to when Gettlemen cut his contract (out of necessity). Had that NOT been done and he was still being paid at fair market, might he have waited one more year or two before quitting? I think he might have. Blame Gettlemen? Stupid, especially when Stewart is making $200k per week riding a stationary bike.
Gettlemen's nightmare is cleaning Hurney's crap off the floor, which explains why Cam is still not signed and why Hardy was not given the keys to the kingdom like CJ was. He knows (first hand) how crippling these megadeals can be. We all think Cam is worth the $24million, but he is a tough read. I think he will be great with a line and some stud WRs--however, is his inconsistent play a red flag? How good is he when the defense is not stellar? Can he carry a team? These are questions he must ask that will determine the fate of this team for the next 5 years or so. A bad decision, we become the Rams or the Bills.
How many positions have been altered by the ridiculous contracts Hurney signed in 2011? I would say the OL, WR, DL, and secondary have been profoundly impacted. Our secondary is full of late-rounders, old guys, nomadic free agents, etc. That is understandable when we are paying players to ride bikes and make $740lk per week while being suspended. But the problem at those positions is also HURNEY. Answering these questions explains how:
Aside from Kalil in 2008, name the best OL Hurney signed or drafted who would reasonably be expected to contribute to the OL today? Silatolu in the second round is the best answer. Before that, Otah. Not a great record if you ask me.
WR is worse. Name a WR Marty Hurney brought in via free agency or draft that is contributing in a positive manner on this or another NFL team?
Look at MH's record at defensive back. Who did he ever bring in after Chris Gamble and maybe Richard Marshall? (Godfrey, Sherrod Martin, Nakamura, and a bunch of day 3 draft picks).
Nowhere did he show his incompetence more than at DT. Fua, McClain? Who else?
So, not only did Gettlemen have to deal with -$16m in cap room and some idiotic contracts, he inherited a team that was not building depth at key positions. We are now feeling the effect of not having players that were being developed. People are criticizing Gettlemen for filling in the gaps with paste and Elmer's, but where is the foundation?
We don't have the cast at key positions. One-year contracts are the only way to fill them with warm bodies until the cap crap MH created is behind us. However, when you are building this way-weathering the storm--you need consistency somewhere. Rivera and his staff have done pretty well considering just how bad Marty Hurney was if you step back and look at the last 2 seasons. Fire them and you create total chaos in the organization.