Thomas Davis, Panthers Were in Contract Talks Before Firing of GM Dave Gettleman

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2017

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 01: Thomas Davis #58 of the Carolina Panthers in action during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers defeated the Panthers 17-16. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

With one more year remaining on his deal, Thomas Davis said he had discussed a new contract with the Carolina Panthers.

The linebacker also denied he had any role in the team's decision to remove Dave Gettleman as general manager Monday, per Kelsey Riggs of NBC Charlotte:

Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt posited Davis' contract situation may have played a role in Gettleman's departure. Gantt argued Gettleman's inability to agree to a lucrative contract extension with Davis drew the ire of team owner Jerry Richardson:

"Richardson has always played favorites. He signed off on a number of contract extensions for players with dubious medical situations (Jake Delhomme, Dan Morgan) because he liked the players involved. He was willing to let Gettleman make some hard calls on others (Jordan Gross, Steve Smith), because he felt compelled to in the wake of overspending to keep a core together previously. [...]

The Panthers owner is about to turn 81 years old tomorrow, and he's more than eight years removed from the heart transplant that saved his life. His legacy matters very deeply to him, now more than ever."

Mike Tolbert, who played for the Panthers from 2012 to 2016, also seemed to indicate Davis was in favor of Gettleman's firing in an Instagram post, which includes the caption, "Now it looks like everyone's getting what they wanted. Pay these guys!":

Davis' situation will be tricky for Gettleman's successor. He reached the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons, but he's in the twilight of his NFL career. From a practical perspective, Carolina would likely be better off letting Davis walk rather than meeting whatever his asking price may be.

However, Davis is a fan favorite in Charlotte, with the Charlotte Observer's Joseph Person describing him as being on a "build-him-a-statue-when-he-retires level." The fanbase likely wouldn't react well if it perceived the team made little effort to re-sign him.

Person reported Monday the Panthers will likely operate with an interim general manager. Sorting out Davis' future will be near the top of the checklist for whomever that temporary GM may be.

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