Carolina Panthers fire GM Fitterer, reveal first list of candidates for his job, head coach search

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Tuesday, January 9, 2024
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Carolina Panthers begin the offseason looking for a general manager in addition to a head coach.

General manager Scott Fitterer was fired on Monday, leaving assistant general manager Dan Morgan in charge of the day-to-day operations for the time being.

"As we move forward with the new direction for our franchise, I have made the decision that Scott Fitterer will no longer serve as our general manager,'' owner David Tepper said in a statement.

Fitterer has served as the general manager since 2021. He was part of the search committee that last offseason hired coach Frank Reich, who was fired after a 1-10 start.

The Panthers had an NFL-worst 2-15 record this season and are 14-37 since Fitterer took control of personnel decisions.

Fitterer orchestrated the trade this past offseason to move from ninth to first in the draft to select quarterback Bryce Young, who went 2-14 in his rookie season. He gave the Chicago Bears two first-round picks and star wide receiver DJ Moore.

This year's first-round pick will be No. 1 overall.

Fitterer's last three first-round picks haven't done well. Besides Young, left tackle Ikem Ekwonu (No. 6, 2022) was responsible for allowing more sacks (19) than any offensive lineman this past season and cornerback Jaycee Horn (No. 8, 2021) has missed more than 30 games with injuries the past three years.

Fitterer will be remembered as much for the trade he didn't make as much as the big trade he made. Last season, he traded Pro Bowl running back Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers for second-, third- and fourth-round picks in 2023 and a fifth-rounder in 2024.

He turned down an offer from the Los Angeles Rams of two first-round picks for outside linebacker Brian Burns and was unable to get a long-term deal with the two-time Pro Bowler before this season.

GM candidates revealed

Later Monday, the Panthers said the team had requested permission to interview eight candidates for the GM job.

Those names released were:

  • Giants assistant GM Brandon Brown
  • Buccaneers assistant GM Mike Greenberg
  • Chiefs vice president of football operations Brandt Tilis
  • Eagles assistant GM Alec Halaby
  • Saints assistant GM Khai Harley
  • Ravens vice president of football administration Nick Matteo
  • Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds
  • Raiders interim GM Champ Kelly

Several of the candidates -- Dodds, Kelly, and Tilis -- interviewed for the Panthers' GM job in 2021.

Other names are likely to emerge. Interviews for GMs, unlike for coaches, can begin immediately.

Coaching candidates emerge

Speaking of coaches, the Panthers released the names of nine candidates they want to interview.

The first crop of candidates are:

  • Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson
  • Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik
  • Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan
  • Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn
  • Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald
  • Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith
  • Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris
  • Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken
  • Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales

Coaching interviews can be done via Zoom right now. Any in-person interviews must wait until Jan. 22.

As with the GM search, other candidates will likely be interviewed.

ESPN's David Newton contributed.