Jerry Richardson canned longtime Carolina Panthers General Manager Marty Hurney today. Does this come as a surprise? Not really. The Panthers are a complete mess at the moment, and a lot of that falls back on the player personnel decisions this team has made in recent years. And player personnel decisions are ultimately a GM’s main responsibility. Consider:

• The 2009, 2010, and 2011 drafts were just horrible. The team had 12 picks in total in the 2nd through 4h round of those drafts. One of those 12 guys is currently a starter: Brandon LaFell. Sherrod Martin use to start at safety but now is a second stringer. Five have been cut (Everette Brown, Corvey Irvin, Tony Fiammetta, Eric Norwood, Terrell McClain.) Three guys are on the roster but don’t play much and/or aren’t making much of an impression (Jimmy Clausen, Armanti Edwards, Sione Fua). Mike Goodson, who would undoubtedly have been cut, was traded for a guy that isn’t playing much. One was drafted while hurt and is hurt again (Brandon Hogan).

• The Panthers gave out a lot of big contracts after the lockout ended, creating salary cap issues, but still aren’t very good. And a lot of those deals are just questionable (see especially: William, D.; Stewart, J.; and Tolbert, M.), especially given how the Panthers are no longer a run-first team.

Whoever the Panthers’ next GM is will have a big task ahead of them turning the team around. Spending a lot of money in a salary-capped league while still losing a lot is just a nasty combination.

Bonus observation: Being in free fall is generally not the best time to hit people up for more money. Unless it’s the City of Charlotte, of course, which has already surrendered to the team’s demands, whatever they may turn out to be, for stadium upgrade funding.