New Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman has some big issues to deal with before he can start thinking about the draft. In his press conference from the NFL Scouting Combine, Gettleman spoke of offseason goals and said, "the first thing we have to do is make March 12 and get there."
March 12 is the official start of free agency, as well as the deadline for teams to get under the salary cap. The cap is expected to be around $121 million, and the Panthers are well over that number. "It’s no secret, bottom line is everybody knows we’re over the cap," Gettleman said on Thursday.
Gettleman stressed that the Panthers have to be concerned not only about getting under the 2013 cap, but setting themselves up for long-term success by ensuring they don't have similar cap problems down the road. "It’s not just about getting to March 12, 2013. It’s getting to March 12, 2014, 2015. The biggest responsibility I have is to think long term. I can’t get narrowed in."
Once the Panthers get under the cap, the next step will be bringing in free agents. Only after that can Gettleman turn his focus to the draft, where he made clear his strategy was not to draft for need, but rather to take the best player available. "You want to be in a position where you can take the best player. Nine times out of 10 you get in trouble when you draft for need," Gettleman sad.
More in the NFL: