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March 20, 2013

Panthers agree to terms with free agent safety


As they did a year ago, the Panthers are bringing in a safety who is getting his first chance to be a starter.

They hope it goes better than the Haruki Nakamura signing.

Former Oakland safety Mike Mitchell said Wednesday he has agreed to terms on a 1-year deal with Carolina. Mitchell, who spent his first four seasons in Oakland, is the third free agent acquisition by new Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman, all of whom have been defensive backs.

Mitchell will compete with Nakamura and D.J. Campbell for the starting spot at strong safety.

“Whoever's there, I'm ready to compete against,” Mitchell said. “Really the opportunity was just to good. They said the best man was going to play.”

Mitchell, 25, started nine games in Oakland, where he backed up Tyvon Branch. In 60 games, Mitchell had 3.5 sacks and two interceptions.

Nakamura signed with the Panthers last offseason after backing up Ed Reed in Baltimore. Nakamura lost his starting job after giving up a couple of crucial big plays, and took a pay cut this winter.

The Panthers could lose another member of their secondary.

Free agent nickelback Captain Munnerlyn has been offered a 1-year deal from Chicago, according to a league source. Munnerlyn has said his preference is to re-sign with the Panthers, who could try to match the Bears' offer.

--Joseph Person



Posted by Observer Sports on March 20, 2013 at 06:33 PM | Permalink


Captain got his 1 year contract reality check!

Posted by: joe cool | Mar 20, 2013 6:49:12 PM

Good solid signing by Gettleman he is creating depth and competition in the secondary. Still think we need to draft a corner back in the 2nd round. All we need is a big defensive tackle and and deep threat wide out who can provide Cam with some help and an O lineman and we are not too far away from being playoff contenders barring any injuries.

Posted by: Taurus | Mar 20, 2013 7:00:07 PM

Cap hates the cold- he will sign here.

Posted by: Head Ball Coach | Mar 20, 2013 7:34:50 PM

could have sworn that was the free safety position.

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 20, 2013 9:46:14 PM

Nakamura can't tackle. get rid of him.

Posted by: Sholob Watkins | Mar 21, 2013 6:04:21 AM

ok I see where Rivera says he's moving godfrey to free safety permanently.....which is....like everything else rivera does.....highly questionable.

nakamura couldn't cut it as FS, but he DEFINITELY won't cut it as a SS.

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 21, 2013 9:15:27 AM

Charlottean, why are you so hard on Rivera? He inherited a 2-14 team, turned them into 6-10 (in a short season), then he improved them to 7-9. Baby steps. The team played hard for him to finish strong and he even admitted his mistakes early in the season. Give the man a break

Posted by: D.W.G. | Mar 21, 2013 10:41:25 AM


Lets face it, Rivera is not a thinking man or a great brain when it comes to coaching. That is hard to stomach in the pros.

I won't go into clock mgt or basic things that a high school coach should be proficient in. I think he can motivate and is a good guy....but is he the guy to turn us around?

I love that Cap'n got a 1 yr offer after turning down 5 million and 3 yrs....Carolina should offer him 3 million and 3 yrs now just to stick it to him. What a f'n moron.

Posted by: big gulps | Mar 21, 2013 11:18:40 AM

David G. is just getting started boys and girls. This team will look much different within the next two years. I can see that it will be "just win baby", Panthers style or else you'll be replaced. Bring in the comp and let the best men play. Capt M. is too small for anything more than a nickel, he can't cover today's taller receivers and the Panthers need bigger guys that can cover, bring the wood and pop those big guys.

Posted by: vinny_57 | Mar 21, 2013 1:51:31 PM

he didn't inherit a 2-14 team. the team that went 2-14 had jimmy clausen at QB, it had numerous injuries, loaded with rookies in gettis, lafell, edwards, hardy, etc.

he took over a completely different team that quickly had cam newton, greg olson, etc. added to the mix. fox didn't go 2-14 that year. we were rebuilding intentionally in line with the lockout year to come out swinging which is exactly what we did.

what hurney did WAS brilliant and if fox had been retained, but forced to bring in a better coordinator than jeff davidson, we would have seen the results.

we lost 7 games last year that came down to 1 critical play where there was a major coaching gaff. or 1 critical moment. calling the option on 3rd and short against atlanta (i think). wasting a timeout against chicago unnecessarily because 10 defenders were on the field for a FG attempt. not 12. 10. not a penalty. not a problem. wasted timeout. then we watched as cutler to marshall ate apart our prevent D by throwing the same effing quick slant over and over and over and over.

the nakamura incident. the kicking away from hester to the point where it was more detrimental than if he had run back 1 or 2 kicks. the going out in interviews and telling his opponents what we were going to do every week. fox would have annoyed many with "we're going to play football" but he didn't tip his hand like "well we're going to start jonathan stewart and go to him a lot early between the tackles"

not giving stewart or williams enough carries. the horrible 4th and goal debacle where they had all the opps in the world to score a critical touchdown and called some BS roll out where brockel was the only option or whatever and the ball was thrown wayyy short because he was getting hit.

if you watched football last year and think that ron rivera knows ANYTHING of what he was doing after watching years of john fox CLEARLY knowing what he was doing......you need to study the game further.

talent wasn't the issue last year, it isn't the issue this year. you don't lose close games repeatedly and blow 4th quarter leads repeatedly because of lack of talent. if you lack talent, you never have the lead to begin with.

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 21, 2013 5:44:37 PM

What Hurney did was brilliant??? You should have stopped there because you have ZERO credibility after that.

Posted by: Sambo | Mar 21, 2013 5:49:06 PM

zero credibility among people who don't get it.

we have a stacked roster of talent that he assembled. we have high cap because we already have our team assembled. if we had 40 people signed and be right at the cap, that would be a problem. we have something close to 70 signed right now.

we're returning almost our entire starting lineups on a team that went 7-9 where 7 of the 9 losses came down to one play.

we have talent, we haven't had coaching.

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 21, 2013 6:22:14 PM

Fox would have done no better if he stayed here. Rivera started winning once be stopped playing it safe like your hero Vanilla Fox Sunday.

Posted by: Sports don | Mar 21, 2013 10:06:45 PM

Go ahead and cut Nik Nak "I can't Tak"!! It will save us a lot of head aches!!

Posted by: Todd | Mar 22, 2013 8:03:05 AM

We have a high cap b/c he overpaid for DWill, Beason, Godfrey, Stewart, Thomas Davis....

Posted by: Sambo | Mar 22, 2013 9:08:10 AM

Rivera never played it safe. We would build a lead and then he would mismanage the 4th quarter every single game. We started winning when we built big enough leads he couldn't find ways to blow.

as much as uninformed fans hate seeing the draw play on 3rd and 20......rivera would have newton chucking it down field where you have 4 defensive backs sitting at the 1st down marker ball hawking. and you have 5 or 6 guys coming on the rush. this lead to a ton of turnovers over the last 2 years. fox understands value of possession and field position.

the guy won with tebow. the guy won a game with chris weinke throwing what? 7 passes? the guy knows how to win football games. rivera doesn't.

overpaid for dwill? that's why teams wanted to trade for him and pay him the same and more right? the guy has the same YPC as adrian peterson just less carries. think about that. 1500+ yard seasons don't happen on accident. beason overpaid? perennial pro bowl linebacker? 1st round pick? not hardly. davis made what? 800k last year? hurney handled his contract with incredible precision through his comeback. godfrey is a young stud at safety. you could argue he's a bit overpaid but not much if any.

stewart is the one I could cosign but it's injury related. he's worth every penny and you had to pay him to keep him. it's not like we paid these guys more than anyone else would. in most cases, someone else would have paid a lot more if they had hit the open market. we let the right guys walk and kept the right guys. we've had some injuries the past few years but if jon beason had been waived instead of james anderson.....you think he's not getting a big deal regardless of the injuries? your wrong.

elite talents don't come along all the time and all of those names are elite talents. its why greg oden CONTINUES to get contract offers and why andrew bynum will surely get a max deal this summer to play 30 games a season for the life of the contract. risk vs. reward. When healthy, they make us a superbowl contender. when not....it hurts. but if you let them walk, we aren't contending either.

the biggest reason people think stewart and williams are overpaid is because rivera isn't giving them the ball.

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 22, 2013 11:50:15 AM

LOLOLOL, Panther fans are trying to beat out Cowboy fans as the most ignorant in the NFL.

The Panthers have SUCKED for the better part of two decades. They have four winning seasons in their history!

Talent? They don't have seven players total who would start on any other team. ANY.

Posted by: Tag | Mar 22, 2013 2:32:56 PM

I bet you are that one guy who sits around the poker table looking for the sucker in the game, while all the rest of the players knows who it is. Your comments are laughable.

Posted by: I know! | Mar 22, 2013 2:39:12 PM

I agree with you on this one Charlottean. Mr. Gettleman seems to have a plan and I hope to see some change coming this fall. It may all come together this year...who knows? Its great to have a real GM again since we lost Polian. Hurney was never a real GM and made a total mess of the Panthers except for a few draft picks. GO PANTHERS!

Posted by: Whitecomet77 | Mar 22, 2013 4:13:13 PM

comments are laughable?

funny how quick you guys forgot about how 1 week rivera punted on a 4th down situation where punting automatically lost the game. then turned around and went for it the next game when the higher probable win opportunity was to punt the ball.

the guy was horrible last year. no debate about it.

we have 7 guys who are pro bowlers so not sure how you can say we don't have 7 guys who could start for any other team. somebody isn't good at facts and debates and arguments and life and such. it's not me.

we have a stacked team of guys in their prime. if healthy, we have the best linebacker core in the league. if given the ball, we have the best running back duo in the league. we have an elite duo of defensive ends. we have an elite young talent at QB. we have a future hall of fame receiver in smith (assuming he keeps rolling for a few more years).

the few holes we have, we'll fill in the draft, but we have less holes than most teams. problem is......the biggest hole we have is..........


Posted by: charlottean | Mar 22, 2013 6:23:26 PM

SHOULD HAVE SAID Mitchell will compete with D.J. Campbell for the starting spot at strong safety.Nakamura is garbage

Posted by: PRIMETIME | Mar 22, 2013 8:53:10 PM

so now edwards is back in the fold.

we have officially taken a 7-9 team that lost 7 of the 9 losses on one play each.....subtracted 2 30 year old guys that were injured for most of last year (edwards and gamble), swapped james anderson for jon beason, added ted ginn, a few misc. veteran d-backs, and we have the draft to add another DT, o-line depth, and hopefully a stud safety to pair with godfrey.

how did hurney mess this up for us again? how did we not get better this offseason through minor tweaks to an already solid core? explain this theory to me please.

run the effing ball and we win. simple as that. less 3 and outs, better field position, better rest for your defense, better use of your 2 elite backs, makes your offensive line happy. run the effing ball, please.

when we do so and go 12-4 this year.....is it going to be because of gettleman's brilliance and not hurney's?

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 23, 2013 12:13:00 PM

good signing. i like this guy gettleman. i cant believe that we have improved our team with the cap situation as bad as it is.i feel positive going into the draft.

Posted by: ray | Mar 23, 2013 9:29:28 PM

hey joe- you are the only writer on here that i can easily post a comment to. what gives with that?posting on some of these blogs is like pulling teeth.do some of these writers ever wonder why they only get a few comments. they probably dont care.

Posted by: ray | Mar 23, 2013 9:33:04 PM

And we sign another fumble prone returner in Ginn who can't make it on the 49ers roster? Didn't we learn a lesson by watching Joe Adams film? At least it's only for 1 year. And the dude can't even get on the field as a receiver. He can't get separation and his hands aren't that good either........

Posted by: Big Dave | Mar 25, 2013 10:12:19 AM

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