Panthers fire GM Scott Fitterer after 3 seasons: Why owner David Tepper made the move

The Carolina Panthers announced Monday that they have fired general manager Scott Fitterer after three seasons.

“As we move forward with the new direction of our franchise, I have made the decision that Scott Fitterer will no longer serve as our general manager,” Panthers owner David Tepper said in a statement. “I appreciate Scott's efforts and wish the best for him and his family.”

Carolina went 14-37 in Fitterer's three seasons, finishing with a league-worst 2-15 record in 2023. Carolina previously fired coach Frank Reich 11 games into the season. Under Fitterer, 50, the Panthers' .275 winning percentage was the lowest in the NFL during that span.

None of Fitterer's selections or free-agent signees made the Pro Bowl, although cornerback Stephon Gilmore, acquired in a midseason trade in 2021, went as a backup that season.

The Panthers made a huge move in the lead-up to the 2023 NFL Draft by acquiring the No. 1 pick in a trade with the Chicago Bears in March. The Panthers traded wide receiver DJ Moore, 2023 first and second round picks (Nos. 9 and 61), a 2024 first round pick and a 2025 second round pick to Chicago for the top pick in the draft.

Carolina used it to select Bryce Young, who struggled mightily in Year 1 with 2,877 yards, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Furthermore, the Bears have the No. 1 pick in the 2024 draft because the Panthers have the worst record in the league this season.

Fitterer, a minor league outfielder who played two seasons in the Toronto Blue Jays organization before an arm issue ended his career, came to Charlotte with a reputation as a consensus builder. During the long search to find Marty Horney's replacement, Fetterer was one of the last 15 candidates interviewed for the job.

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Why was Tepper Fetterer fired?

Fitterer had three years to build the roster, although he was somewhat hampered in the first two years by the fact that former coach Matt Rhule had personnel control contractually. And while Fitterer deserves credit for making the deal move forward for Young, who was the consensus pick between Tepper and everyone in the organization, Fitterer didn't surround the No. 1 pick with enough playmakers or protection.

Tepper has a long history of firing coaches — whether with the Panthers or Charlotte FC — and other team officials. But he's never cleaned house with the coach and GM at the same time. After the Panthers went 2-15 with the NFL's worst offense in Young's first season, it was time. – Joe Pearson, Panthers staff writer

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Panthers head coach Scott Fitterer is out and David Tepper's offseason overhaul has begun

Where do the Panthers go from here?

It will be interesting to see if Tepper, who works with the Sportsology advisory group, decides to use this as an opportunity to reorganize the front office. There has been some buzz about the possibility of the Panthers adding a senior vice president of football operations to serve as an intermediary between Tepper and the coach/general manager. Dawn Aponte, the NFL's chief director of football operations, would be a strong candidate for such a role.

As for the general manager role, keep an eye on Kansas City Chiefs vice president of football operations Brandt Tillis, who interviewed for the job before Fitterer was hired and has a background in analytics (of interest to Tepper), salary cap management and roster strategy. – person

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(Photo: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

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