There were other poor decisions, including giving up a second-round pick last year to the New England Patriots for the rights to draft Armanti Edwards in the third round in 2010. Edwards has not been a factor after trying to make the transition from college quarterback at Appalachian State to receiver/returner in the NFL.
Hurney also was criticized for giving big free-agent contracts to keep the team’s core intact following a 2-14 season in 2010. He gave Johnson, who has never been to a Pro Bowl, a contract worth US$72 million and also handed out a five-year, US$43 million contract with US$21 million in guaranteed money to running back DeAngelo Williams. Williams has not done much since and serves as a part-time player.
This past off-season, the Panthers gave fellow running back Jonathan Stewart a deal worth more than US$5 million per year. That left the team with two high-priced running backs at a time when the NFL has moved toward becoming a passing league.
Hurney also cut kicker John Kasay and handed Olindo Mare a four-year, US$12 million deal that included a US$4 million signing bonus. Mare lasted one season.
He did well with many of his first-round draft picks over the years, landing players like Jordan Gross, Jon Beason, Jonathan Stewart, Chris Gamble and Cam Newton, last year’s No. 1 overall pick.