On Wednesday, the Carolina Panthers re-signed CB Captain Munnerlyn to a 1-year deal. While the top-end of the contract isn’t exactly known, it’s reportedly full of incentives and gives him a $500,000 guarantee.
This should come as welcome news for Panthers fans as the team was able to hold on to a local favorite at an inexpensive price.
Munnerlyn probably saw the handwriting on the wall as any contract leverage he might have had went out the window with the signings of CB Drayton Florence and D.J. Moore within the past week.
The 5’8″ Munnerlyn is one of the two shortest corners in the NFL but was forced to play outside last season due to injuries elsewhere. He is best-suited for a nickel or dime sub-package facing a slot receiver, who are usually smaller guys than those on the outside.
The slot receiver, due to NFL rules about formations, is actually considered part of the backfield as he lines up at least one yard behind the line of scrimmage so as not to “cover” the tackle or tight end. What it means in practice is that they generally don’t have to worry as much about press coverage since they have room to maneuver against the cornerback tasked with defending him.
By the same token, the corner covering the slot receiver need not be a physical corner – just able to run with the slot receiver. That’s within Munnerlyn’s skill set and his knowledge of Rivera’s defensive system means much less of a learning curve than those rookies or free agents who may come in to the system for the first time this year.
The Panthers also signed free agent safety Mike Mitchell, the former Oakland Raider backup but with some possible upside. With the generally mediocre play from both safety positions last season, his is a welcome addition to the roster and a player whose full potential may yet be untapped.
Finally, in a developing story, the Panthers have made an offer to former first-round WR Ted Ginn, jr. of the San Francisco 49’ers. Ginn is an accomplished and dangerous kick returner, but has never broken out as a dependable wide receiver although he has deep-threat speed. One thing I’ve noticed is that it takes him a little time to get up to top speed, so his acceleration curve as it were is not the best. He has the great straight-line speed you want in a receiver, but lacks some quickness in short spaces and his hands aren’t the best but perhaps with some attention and coaching he could emerge as a good situational player and contribute where WR Louis Murphy failed to do last year – and was subsequently released.
It’s far from a done deal, but the Panthers are interested and Rivera’s excited about the possibility. GM David Gettleman continues to work under a tight salary cap space and seems to be doing the most with what he has to work with.
Keep an eye out for Ginn’s name in coming days to see if he accepts the 3-year contract offer from the Carolina Panthers.