The Carolina Panthers at 1-5, have fired general manager Marty Hurney. People have been wondering aloud if the Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli could be far behind. I find this shocking. The Kansas City Chiefs have problems. Some of them are related to mistakes made by Scott Pioli in his capacity as general manager. But Scott Pioli stands out as a bastion of excellence and consistency compared to Marty Hurney's recent blunders as Panthers GM.
Chapter 1: Marty Hurney trades like the Al Davis
Most Kansas City fans are only familiar with one of Marty Hurney's recent draft picks, 2011 first overall selection Cam Newton. And while Cam Newton has experienced his share of ups and downs in his season and a half in the league, it's a miracle the Panthers even had a chance to draft him at all. Why? Because Hurney trades his first round picks away like a drunken Al Davis, and for terrible players too. Look at this list of hornswagglings and head-scratchers:
1. Carolina traded their 2009 first-round selection, and its 2008 second- and fourth-round selections to Philadelphia for its 2008 first-round selection (19th overall, Carolina selected Jeff Otah)
2. Carolina traded their 2010 first-round selection to San Francisco for a 2009 second- (43rd overall; Carolina selected Everette Brown) and fourth-round selections (111th overall; Carolina selected Mike Goodson)
3. Carolina traded their 2011 second-round selection (#33 overall!) to New England for a 2010 third- (89th overall; Carolina selected Armanti Edwards)
5. Carolina traded their 2012 sixth round selection (180th overall) and a 2013 third round selection to San Francisco for their 2012 fourth round selection (103rd overall) when they held the 104th overall pick already!
Chapter 2: Marty Hurney drafts like Matt Millen
Drafting players is tough. Even the best personnel guys have a fair share of misses. But successful NFL teams plan on reloading their rosters with talented, low-risk players taken the early rounds of the Draft. We know that the Panthers rarely have a first round pick because Hurney likes to trade them away, but he also tends to draft busts and mediocre players with the picks he does have in the first three rounds:
1st round pick: Cam Newton, QB
2nd round pick: (none) traded for 2010 3rd
3rd round pick:
Terrell McClain, DT. Out of the league
1st round pick: (none) traded for 2009 2nd
2nd round pick:
Jimmy Clausen QB, no explanation needed
3rd round pick: Brandon LaFell, starting WR. Best season: 36 catches for 613 yards and 3 touchdowns
3rd round pick:
Armanti Edwards, a third string WR who doesn't return kicks either
1st round pick: (none) traded for 2008 1st
2nd round pick:
Everett Brown DE. Waived by Carolina after recording 6 sacks in two seasons
2nd round pick: Sherrod Martin backup FS.
3rd round pick:
Corey Irvin DT. Waived after two seasons.
1st round pick: Jonathan Stewart. Starting RB: only one 1,000+ yard season (2009)
1st round pick:
Jeff Otah, LT. Out of the league.
2nd round pick: (none) traded for 2008 1st: Jeff Otah
3rd round pick: Charles Godfrey, starting SS
Only 4 starters from the first 3 rounds. In fact, the Carolina Panthers only drafted 6 starters total in the four drafts between 2011-2008. By contrast Scott Pioli drafted 9 starters with one fewer draft between 2011-2009.
Chapter 3: Marty Hurney signs terrible contracts
Marty Hurney got fired for signing ridiculous contracts to undeserving players. The most flagrant ones being the deals for DE Charles Johnson ($72M) and RB DeAngelo Williams ($43M). But the deal given to former Chief Ron Edwards is more indicative of the way he's run the Panthers into the ground. We all remember Edwards as the Chiefs hard working, but mediocre NT from 2006-2010. What did Marty Hurney think Edwards had done to justify signing the then 31 year-old to a three year $8.25M contract with a $2.5M signing bonus? These kinds of deals led to Carolina carrying one of the highest payrolls in the league without seeing the results on the field.
Chapter 4: Scott Pioli is not Marty Hurney
The Chiefs have a lot of problems. Scott Pioli is responsible for several of them. But after a rough start in 2009, Scott Pioli has done a pretty good job reloading the roster, both through sound draft selections and solid free agent signings. Even grading pretty hard there have been few truly head-scratching moments of Pioli's tenure. The salary cap is in great shape and he re-signs core talent to market or below-market level contract extensions.
1. Bad Pioli Trades
2. Bad Pioli Draft Picks
Alex Magee DE (3rd Round, 2009)
Colin Brown OT (5th Round, 2009)
Gabe Miller OLB (5th Round, 2010) I'm giving Pioli a pass because it was a 5th rounder and Miller is freak athlete
3. Bad Pioli Contracts
Chris Chambers WR (3-year, $15 million contract)
Sabby Piscitelli SS (League minimum was too much)
4. Good Pioli Trades
4th Rounder + Tank Tyler = Tony Moeaki
Tyler Thigpen to Miami = 5th Round Pick (2010 #142 overall)
5. Good Pioli Draft Picks
Ryan Succop K (7th Round, 2009)
Kendrick Lewis FS (5th Round, 2010)
Justin Houston OLB (3rd Round, 2010)
Jerrell Powe NT (6th Round, 2011)
6. Good Pioli Contracts/Free Agents
Shaun Smith DE (1 year / league minimum)
Jamaal Charles RB (5 years / $32.5M) Chris Johnson got $53.5 from Tennessee
Derrick Johnson ILB (6 years / $36.48M)
7. Good Pioli Moves
Benching Matt Cassel to go after a franchise QB in 2013. It takes a man to admit a mistake.