Panthers GM Scott Fitterer dishes on trade for top draft pick, rookie QBs and free agency

Mike Kaye, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Football

The Carolina Panthers have had a busy March.

First, the Panthers made a massive pre-free agency splash, trading wide receiver DJ Moore and a quartet of premium picks to the Chicago Bears for the first overall pick in April’s NFL Draft.

From there, the Panthers went on a measured spending spree in free agency, adding the likes of safety Vonn Bell, quarterback Andy Dalton, tight end Hayden Hurst, running back Miles Sanders and wide receiver Adam Thielen on the open market.

General manager Scott Fitterer has had a full plate of work during the past two weeks. On Monday, he took a brief pause from his offseason wheeling and dealing to explain his reasoning behind the big moves.

Here are some takeaways from Fitterer’s chat with the media:

It took two weeks to pull off the blockbuster trade


Fitterer said his discussions with Bears GM Ryan Poles began at the NFL Scouting Combine in late February. The duo had a meeting in a hotel room and then met “a couple of times” in the lobby of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis as prospects worked out. Fitterer said he spoke to other teams within the top eight picks with the intent of trading up for a quarterback.

The price to trade up would have been expensive regardless of the Panthers’ landing spot in a trade-up scenario. According to Fitterer, the price of quarterbacks in free agency played into the cost of moving up in the draft as well because of the demand for rookies on cheap contracts was so high.

When the Panthers returned home from Indianapolis, the conversations continued with Chicago. The two sides went over different scenarios through the course of three or four days before pulling the trigger, according to Fitterer.

“We found a spot (in value) that worked for both of us,” Fitterer said. “They wanted a certain amount of compensation. There were things we didn’t want to do, so had to work through that. But, we are able to get there and get the deal done.”


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