After sitting out the first wave of free agency during his first four years in Carolina, Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman has morphed into ‘get-it-done Dave.’
Pass rusher who just so happens to be the franchise’s sack leader?
Veteran strong safety?
Special teams help?
Despite the swift shopping spree, one glaring to-do remained on Gettleman’s list as Friday afternoon turned into evening. The Panthers needed a nickel corner.
Captain Munnerlyn, who went from a seventh-round pick to one of the better nickels in the league, is rejoining the team that drafted him.
I’m back 😳😳😳😊😊😊#41
— Captain Munnerlyn (@captain_41) March 11, 2017
According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Panthers gave Munnerlyn a four-year, $21-million deal. He’ll sign the contract after he passes a physical Saturday morning.
Munnerlyn, of course, spent his first five seasons in Carolina before the Vikings made an $11.25 million offer after the 2013 season.
With that contract set to expire, it became a poorly kept secret that Munnerlyn and the Panthers were interested in reuniting. He has a home in Charlotte and is good friends with a number of Panthers, including defensive end Charles Johnson, who already saw one friend come back with the return of Julius Peppers.
As nice as the Peppers storyline is, landing Munnerlyn was more important for the Panthers. Except for some flashes from 2014 five-round pick Bené Benwikere, Carolina has struggled to replace Munnerlyn in the slot.
His homecoming, a month from Munnerlyn’s 29th birthday, means that Gettleman can go into the upcoming draft with his glaring holes filled.