The Panthers fired general manager Marty Hurney on Monday, the team announced.
Carolina is last in the NFC South with a 4-10 record after a Week 15 defeat to the Packers in Green Bay. It had moved to 3-2 with a run of three straight wins through late September and early October, but a subsequent dip in form ended any playoff hopes as the team struggled without star running back Christian McCaffrey.
Hurney, appointed for a second time as GM in 2017 — initially on an interim basis — has paid the price with his job. He departs six months early; his contract runs through June 2021.
Panthers owner David Tepper told reporters that it became clear in his conversations with Hurney that the two had different ideas about how the organization should be run. Tepper said he will look to make the football operation more data-driven.
Tepper also disclosed that he thought about moving sooner on Hurney’s departure.
“I think sometimes you just need a restart, a refresh,” Tepper said. “We did it last year on the coaching side (replacing Ron Rivera with Matt Rhule). Maybe you could say it should have been done before on the GM side. Maybe it should have been. I’m sure people may say that, or otherwise, on both sides.
“I think it’s just time, on both sides, to do that. It just seems like the right time to move forward.”
Rhule will have a say in who replaces Hurney, Tepper said.
“You look at successful organizations, and there’s a certain alignment between the head coach and the GM,” Tepper said. “To think that you can do that without some sort of alignment is nuts. So to not have a head coach with some input into that is stupid. I don’t want to be stupid, OK?”
Carolina last made the NFL playoffs in 2017, losing to the Saints in the wild-card round.