CHARLOTTE – Even though his job description involves transactions measured in millions of dollars, general manager Dave Gettleman still sometimes marvels at the money.
But relatively speaking, Gettleman views the Panthers' five-year deal with offensive tackle Matt Kalil as being right on the money.
"Listen, you're talking to a street kid from Boston, and to think that I would sign off on these kinds of deals still blows my mind," Gettleman said. "I've got to be honest, I've still got that blue collar in me – me and my minivan. I have that in me.
"But," Gettleman said in reference to Kalil's contract, "I didn't blink."
Gettleman, meeting with the media for the first time since free agency began, said he firmly believes the sizable contract the Panthers penned with the former Vikings' first-round draft pick is a responsible one both in terms of Carolina's fiscal and football interests.
It's the most ambitious contract with an "outsider" in Gettleman's four-plus years in charge of such decisions but the type of signing he occasionally had a hand in as the Giants' director of player personnel.
"Since I had gotten here, we hadn't been in position to do a deal like that on an outside guy," Gettleman said, referencing a limiting salary cap situation that has improved since his arrival. "(Longtime Giants general manager) Ernie (Accorsi) taught me that if you're going to spend that kind of money, it should be a guy entering his prime. Matt is 27. I've watched a ton of tape on him. If you're going to spend that kind of money, you've got to believe in the talent, believe in the health and believe in the person.
"We did a lot of work on him, and I feel really good about it."
The Panthers needed help up front with Michael Oher's future unclear and with fellow tackle Mike Remmers signing with the Vikings via free agency. Gettleman said Oher officially remains in the concussion protocol – where he's been since October – but that Oher is working out five days a week in a way that's "not for the faint of heart."
Still, there naturally is some uncertainty surrounding Oher's situation. Some NFL analysts also remain uncertain if Kalil – a Pro Bowler as a rookie in 2012 who admitted he hasn't progressed as hoped since – is the answer to Carolina's question along the offensive line.
But Gettleman, who was open about his faith in Oher when he was signed and who was proven right before Oher's injury, doesn't harbor any doubt in the Kalil signing.
"When you are doing this kind of a deal, you've got to be convinced that it's the right move to make," Gettleman said. "He's the right guy for us."
View photos of left tackle Matt Kalil in action.