Sideline Today

The perfect jobs for former Carolina Panthers pair just might be in the same place

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The New York Giants need a general manager and a head coach. If they want toughness and credibility, an offensive lineman of a GM, they ought to hire Dave Gettleman.

Gettleman, 66, was the Carolina Panthers’ GM from 2013 until July 2017. Before that, he worked for the Giants – from 1999-2001 as pro personnel director and in 2012 as senior pro personnel analyst.

The reason the Panthers fired Gettleman, the story goes, is that he was too tough with tight end Greg Olsen and linebacker Thomas Davis when they sought new contracts or contract extensions. Along with being exceptional at their jobs, Olsen and Davis also are at the epicenter of the team’s leadership. I would say that Davis is, with the late Sam Mills, the favorite all-time player of Panthers’ owner Jerry Richardson.

Although Davis and Olsen both wanted to be paid, it’s tough to envision either of them saying, “Gettleman must go.”

Also, there’s a fallacy that Gettleman made personnel decisions all by himself. Do you believe that owner Jerry Richardson picked up the Charlotte Observer (he subscribes) the morning after a major move and said, “Whoa, what a surprise, I can’t believe Dave made this decision all by himself!”

That’s not how the Panthers operate, not now, not ever. When wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. was released, it’s not as if Gettleman said, “You know, he’s getting up there in years and he’s kind of little and intense and we need some new offensive leaders … so see you, Steve.”

It was a team decision. What percentage of the Smith move and the Olsen and Davis non-moves you can attribute to Gettleman, I don’t know. But I do know that the owner has veto power, and he’s not afraid to use it.

Gettleman did alienate some veteran players by telling them to take pay cuts. The Panthers were $16 million above the salary cap when he was hired. He made tough decisions. By being tough, he inadvertently ensured that offensive tackle Jordan Gross would retire a year earlier than he planned to. Lose a player such as Gross and you pay.

But during Gettleman’s four seasons the Panthers went 40-23-1 and three times finished atop the NFC South.

Gettleman will be 66 in February (he was born the same year as Seattle Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll), and maybe the Giants will consider him too old to assume the GM role. If so, they’ll be wrong.

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How good is former Carolina Panthers coach John Fox? He won in Denver with Tim Tebow as quarterback. The Broncos fired him and the Chicago Bears hired him.

Mark Black AP

Another former Panther who worked for the New York Giants and really likes New York is John Fox. Fox was the defensive coordinator there from 1997-2001, and the Carolina head coach from 2002-2008.

The Panthers did not renew Fox’s contract after the 2010 season, which is a nice way of saying that they canned him. The Denver Broncos swooped him up and he coached there from 2011-2014. How good is he? He won with Tim Tebow as quarterback. The Broncos fired him and the Chicago Bears hired him.

Chicago is 3-9 this season and on Sunday lost at Soldier Field to the San Francisco 49ers , who came in with a single victory. It is almost impossible to envision Fox hanging onto his job. This is a franchise in need of an infusion. The Bears’ last winning season was in 2012, and the last time they made the playoffs was in 2010.

The Giants and their fans are going to want a coach whose recent resume includes things such as victories.

But despite Chicago, Fox can coach. What he did best when he coached the Panthers was adjust as a game went on. He’ll have to adjust to unemployment when the season ends.

What’s next? Fox is not going to accept a defensive coordinator’s job unless the head coach is close to him.

The Giants aren’t as feeble as the Bears were when they hired Fox. And they probably aren’t as feeble as the Panthers were when they hired Fox. As I said, I think Fox is a talent.

But he’s 62, and since being jettisoned by the Panthers, he’s been a temp.

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