Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. While Carolina general manager Gettleman has made some small moves in free agency, he hasn't been able to sign any marquee names due to lack of cap room.
But that is through no fault of his own.
With that being said, Gettleman will be tested later this month, and his draft strategy and selections will determine the kind of GM the Panthers hired to rebuild the team and return it to the playoffs.
His job won't be easy. He needs to find the kind of players who can help Carolina win in 2013 and ensure no one loses their job next year.
Adding to the pressure is Gettleman's turn in a history of good general managers. The Carolina Panthers were constructed by Bill Polian, who built them into a winner before departing for Indianapolis. A few years later, Marty Hurney would replace George Seifert as the team's general manager.
While Hurney made some questionable moves in contract signings and with draft selections, there is no denying he was awesome in the first round.
Going back to the 2002 draft, all but two of Hurney's first-round selections are still on the current roster and all are starters. The lone exceptions are Julius Peppers, who left in free agency in 2010, and Chris Gamble, who was released a few weeks ago and later retired.
Gettleman will be tasked with building this team into a contender and to make the moves necessary to get them into the playoffs in his first season. While there are some key pieces already in place, he will have to make the most without the money or cap space to bring in top free agents.
If he drafts well, there will be a feeling of optimism moving forward. If the 2013 Carolina draft class is a bust, his tenure in Charlotte may be shorter than Seifert's.