Dec 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (41) looks across the line before the snap during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Right now in Free Agency, the deepest position available to teams is by far DBs, where there is certainly no shortage of talented players available to teams searching for a player to add into their secondary. As many would expect, your “headliners” would be Charles Woodson, Ed Reed, and Dashon Goldson among others. In a rather interesting twist, the player seeing perhaps the most interest from teams around the NFL, is none of those players just named. Instead, it is one Captain Munnerlyn, CB from the Carolina Panthers, that is seeing a significant amount of attention right now, as Ian Rapoport just Tweeted moments ago:
Of course there are plenty of other DBs that one would assume are speaking with multiple teams, but Captain Munnerlyn is an interesting name in his own right. A fan like myself could casually look at his stats over 4 seasons, and according to NFL.com, he has 5 interceptions in his career. Most people would simply laugh if stats were the only justifications used to pass judgement on his play. What I can tell you from watching him is he’s a solid and pretty tough player in the secondary, despite his small size at 5’8″, 190 lbs.
By no means am I ever suggesting him to be one of the best defensive players in the entire NFL, yet what I am suggesting is in the right environment, he could prove to be a real “bargain” for a team wanting to add a little more talent into their secondary. And, all 4 of those teams: Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, and San Diego Chargers, are all looking to strengthen their respective secondaries, in a pass-first type league. A comparison as to what he could potentially develop into, is current Bears Pro Bowl CB Tim Jennings.
Jennings, has been in the NFL since 2006 when his career started with the Indianapolis Colts. During his 4 year career with them, he had a grand total of 4 picks, all 4 of which coming in his final 2 seasons with the team. After being signed by the Chicago Bears in 2010, he had but 1 int during the 2010 season, and 2 the following season. Then, suddenly after given a “make or break” type proposal by Bears GM Phil Emery, Tim Jennings would lead the entire NFL in interceptions. He burned the league down with a whopping 9 interceptions during the 2012 season, after recording 7 total in his first 5 seasons. The same could very well happen for Munnerlyn, who’s considerably young at just 24 years of age, and has plenty of football ahead of him. Like Tim Jennings, Captain Munnerlyn is relatively healthy, and an “undersized” CB who plays bigger than their recorded size would indicate.
Another thing to note about Munnerlyn, out of his 5 ints, 3 of them have been taken back for TDs, including a pair of pick-sixes last season alone. He has proven to be a decent tackler and a solid defender in general as he played in his primary role, the nickelback. Right off the bat that would attract the Chicago Bears, who are searching for other options to play in the nickel after parting ways with CB D.J. Moore. The Browns are looking for a nickel type player as well, and the Dolphins as well as the Chargers could be looking to add more depth at the CB position. Needless to say, there is an ocean full of DBs in this year’s market who are looking for new homes, and Captain Munnerlyn could be an interesting name to consider as transactions continue to happen across the NFL. The Panthers would love to have him back, but other teams seemingly would love to have him on their teams, too.