Carolina Panthers fire general manager Marty Hurney

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers on Monday fired general manager Marty Hurney over philosophical differences.

Team owner David Tepper said on a Zoom call that he is looking for a general manager who is more analytical and data-driven, as he and head coach Matt Rhule are.

"You look at successful organizations, and there's a certain alignment between the head coach and the GM," Tepper said. "To think that you can do that without some sort of alignment is nuts. So to not have a head coach with some input into that is stupid. I don't want to be stupid, OK?"

Hurney, whose contract was set to expire in June, is out immediately, and the Panthers (4-10) will begin reshaping their front office for the offseason. They currently are in line for a top-five draft pick.

"I think sometimes you just need a restart, a refresh," Tepper said. "We did it last year on the coaching side. Maybe you could say it should have been done before on the GM side. Maybe it should have been. I'm sure people may say that, or otherwise, on both sides.

"I think it's just time, on both sides, to do that. It just seems like the right time to move forward."

Tepper said recent conversations with Hurney about football operations made it clear they weren't on the same page. He said it's important that the new GM be able to align and collaborate with him and Rhule.

"Listen, Marty is a little more traditional, and I'm a little more data-driven and analytical,'' Tepper said repeatedly of Hurney, who was fired the day after he turned 65. "Matching those things would be pretty good.''

Tepper and chief communications officer Steven Drummond will immediately begin identifying candidates, with some already in mind. Rhule also will be a part of the process.

"You look at successful organizations, and there's a certain alignment between the head coach and the GM. ... So to not have a head coach with some input into that is stupid. I don't want to be stupid, OK?" David Tepper, Panthers owner

Tepper made it clear he wasn't happy with the team's record even though star running back Christian McCaffrey has missed 11 games with injuries and the defense was completely overhauled with young players.

"This team could easily have another four wins," Tepper said. "The eight games that we had the ball last to win or tie -- seven to win, one to tie -- if you win four of those games, you're in a totally different position right now with this young team. So looking at next year, I'm very hopeful where we will be and what we will do."

Tepper did not directly answer when asked whether Hurney's decision to make McCaffrey the highest-paid back in NFL history with a four-year, $64 million extension was a part of their differences.

However, he made it clear Hurney was a good teacher for him and Rhule the past year as the organization transitioned from former coach Ron Rivera, who was fired with four games left in the 2019 season.

The Panthers face Rivera, now the head coach for a Washington team that might also be in the market for a GM, on Sunday.

"I was watching tape and got a few text messages,'' Rivera said of Hurney's firing. "It gives him an opportunity like I got with those job openings out there, he has a chance to get one of them. Things will happen quickly. We'll see what happens."

Hurney has been with the Panthers since 1998, starting off as the director of football administration. He helped the 2003 team reach the Super Bowl under coach John Fox and in large part built the 2015 team that went to the Super Bowl under general manager Dave Gettleman.

Hurney was fired five games into the 2012 season with the team off to a bad start and rehired in 2017 after Gettleman was fired.

He is responsible for drafting some of Carolina's biggest all-time stars, including quarterback Cam Newton, linebacker Luke Kuechly and linebacker Thomas Davis.

The Panthers join Houston, Jacksonville, Detroit and Atlanta as teams looking for a general manager.

Tepper said he had no timetable for making a hire but added, "earlier the better."

With a high draft pick, he'd like to ideally have the new GM in place for the selection process.

Asked whether the Panthers were happy with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater or would be in the market for a quarterback, Tepper said: "Unless you have that guy to get you to playoffs or Super Bowls, you have to keep reevaluating that. Because that's the only thing that matters is Super Bowls."