What if we could go back and correct some of the biggest mistakes the Carolina Panthers have made in recent years? What if we could literally hop into the quantum realm or perhaps borrow the time stone from Dr Strange and fix the Carolina Panthers? Have no idea what I am talking about? Well then your entertainment worlds are probably not colliding like mine this weekend. The NFL Draft and Avengers Endgame in the same weekend. It is like nerds and jocks have come together to form a singularity that will suck all of my free time into its unyielding gravitational pull.
Come with me now, and let us fix three recent mistakes that would greatly improve the Carolina Panthers today. (Attempts that cool Dr Strange time stone spell gesture)
Mistake 1 – Drafting Vernon Butler
At the time, selecting defensive tackle Vernon Butler in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft made a lot of sense. KK Short was posturing for a sizable contract extension. A holdout was looming. There was real uncertainty if the once great Carolina Panthers defensive tackle would continue playing for Carolina.
So when Vernon Butler fell to the Carolina Panthers in round 1, it seemed to make sense. Drafting Butler would be insurance just in case KK Short was not around. At the very least, Short would provide an extra body in a heavy rotation along the interior defensive line.
Well, as it turns out, KK Short stayed and Vernon Butler has found himself a healthy scratch on multiple occasions. Meaning, he neither replaces KK Short nor does he provide any help in the rotation. Lose and lose again.
Now excuse me while I gently take the “Vernon Butler” index card given to the NFL Commish on draft night and replace it with one that says “Michael Thomas” instead.
Mistake 2 – Releasing Steve Smith
Here is another mistake the Carolina Panthers have made that I understood at the time. I didn’t necessarily agree with it, but I understood it.
Smith was the fiercest competitor that has ever or will ever wear a Carolina Panthers jersey. Sound great, but sometimes a guy like that will rub others the wrong way. Sometimes a guy like that will punch others in the mouth, literally.
There was a feeling within former GM Dave Gentleman’s orbit that Smith would no longer provide the production that would compensate for the hurt feelings in the locker room from those Smith did not feel was pulling their own weight. So, they cut Steve Smith and drafted Kelvin Benjamin. Sounds cringe worthy now, doesn’t it?
Watch me while I go back in time and reprogram Gettleman’s rotary phone to always dial an Arby’s.
Mistake 3 – The Josh Norman Debacle
Just before Josh Norman was on his way to sign his franchise player contract, he was released by Dave Gettleman. There are cloudy details surrounding this horrible decision. Some say it was a clash of personalities between Gettleman and Norman’s Agent. Others say it was simply Gettleman getting tired of games and playing hardball (poorly).
One thing that is painfully obvious though is that not using the franchise tag on Norman was a giant mistake. Almost the entire NFL draft following was dedicated to the corner position. Rounds 2, 3 and 4 all spent on corners. Of the “three amigos” as they were once known, only James Bradberry has developed into a good player. The other two proved not to be NFL material very quickly. What an awful decision.
Luckily, Gettleman is now ordering a triple roast beef combo with extra Arby’s Sauce instead of making what would have been a disaster. You’re welcome.