Let’s look at the Panthers roster. Gettleman was handed much of the backbone of the Panthers. Cam Newton, Ryan Kalil, Greg Olsen, Jonathan Stewart, Thomas Davis, and Luke Kuechly. He’s successfully drafted Kawann Short, Trai Turner, and James Bradberry. His two wide receivers from the early rounds of the draft, Kelvin Benjamin (first round) and Devin Funchess (second), have been underwhelming. So has another first-round pick, linebacker Shaq Thompson. He was supposed to replace Thomas Davis.
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Gettleman needed to hit a home run this offseason.
The list of Panthers offseason needs included: left tackle, cornerback, defensive end, playmakers for Newton, and a deal for Short. Gettleman crossed them all off, signing left tackle Matt Kalil, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, defensive end Julius Peppers, signing Short to a five-year deal, and drafting offensive weapons Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel. Everything should be pointing up. So what was the tipping point?
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Martin’s had a strange career, to say the least. He burst onto the scene as a 2012 rookie with 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns, only to devolve into an injury-prone mess over the next two years. In 2015, Martin stayed healthy and racked up 1,402 yards, just in time to sign a five-year, $35.75 million extension.
However, 2016 was a disaster in every way for Martin. He missed eight games and performed dismally when he was on the field (2.9 yards per carry on 144 attempts). Late in the season, he was handed a four-game suspension by the league, which will cost him the first three games of 2017.