The Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell was an unheralded, yet highly effective member of one the NFL‘s best defensive units in 2013. The former second-round pick out of Ohio State turned his career around in the last year of his contract with Carolina. He will likely hit the open market at the start of free agency, because Carolina is facing a serious salary cap squeeze. The Panthers have just over $6 million in cap space, compared to teams like the Philadelphia Eagles that have $20 million-plus in cap room.
Mitchell thrives is both pass coverage and blitz situations, finishing last season with 66 tackles, four interceptions, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. At 6-foot-0, 220 pounds, Mitchell is the kind of versatile, physically imposing safety who NFL GMs now covet. Despite appearing in less than 16 games, he finished tied for the league lead in sacks by a safety and can play both free safety and strong safety. He will have no problem landing a multi-year deal in the weeks ahead.
Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman knows that it is time to move on from current safety Nate Allen. Though 2013 was Allen’s most productive year since his rookie season, he still graded out as the No. 49 safety on Pro Football Focus. Even at his best, Allen is simply not a difference-maker.
Knowing the Eagles must upgrade the safety position this offseason, it comes as no surprise that rumors have recently surfaced linking Mitchell to Philadelphia.
Hearing Bears, Eagles, Broncos and Falcons showing interest in CAR safety Mike Mitchell.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) March 8, 2014
Signing the ascending Mitchell would be another masterstroke by Roseman in what is shaping up to be an aggressive offseason by the Eagles.