The Carolina Panthers, for all of their defensive weapons and play makers, are going to suffer from the restrictions of their salary cap this offseason. Many of their players are going to hit the free agency market, including a huge number from the secondary. This could be very problematic for the Panthers as, if they are going to have a chance to return to the playoffs next year, they need to be able to hold their defense in tact.
Quintin Mikell and Mike Mitchell are both bound for the market, and it hard to imagine that Charles Godfrey, with his seven million dollar price tag, is not far behind. However, despite this setback, the Panthers’ staff will be looking to keep some of their more talented players on the roster. While there are many different options (Mikell, Mitchell and Godfrey are all very solid players) the most important free agent that the Panthers should focus on is Captain Munnerly.
Not only does he jam receivers at the line, but Munnerly is also an all around fantastic cornerback, being able to read offenses and help all over the field. Not only is he a great route reader and able to step into lanes for interceptions, he also has the greatest interception return percentage (71.4) in the history of the NFL.
The Panthers’ defense led the league in defensive scoring last year, and Munnerly was a huge factor in that, returning both of his interceptions to the house. Continuing his impressive season, Munnerly deflected a career high twelve passes last year, and looks to be coming into his own. Carolina is a team that finished near the top last year, and is looking to make it back again. That journey is going to be decided between who goes and who stays during the offseason. Unfortunately for the Panthers, there is no way they can manage to keep all of their secondary players, but out of the options they do have, Munnerly is the best choice.