Dec 22, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (41) walks off the field after the game. The Panthers defeated the Saint 17-13 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Potential Jets' Free Agent: Captain Munnerlyn

Free agency is going to be a time, for once, that the Jets will be bidding from a position of strength. With a lot of salary off the books, John Idzik will a lot of room in the budget to write some pretty hefty checks, and make his team major competitors in the free agent market.

We have talked about some positions where the need is obvious; WR, TE, offensive guard, and even veteran backup quarterback. But what about a position that isn’t so obvious?

In to the picture comes CB Captain Munnerlyn. I already know your reaction when I suggest signing a cornerback, but hear me out before you say no.

John Idzik’s feelings on competition have been made apparently from the first moment he arrived. There will be competition all over the football field, no matter who is at what position. No position is safe, not even cornerback.

Everybody loves Antonio Cromartie. We have all become big fans of Cro after he took over the number one spot for Darrelle Revis. But, if you look at the facts, there has been a lot of “Bad Cro”. Maybe as much as “Good Cro” if you look cumulatively over the years. He has always been vulnerable deep, sometimes being able to recover with his great athletic ability, sometimes not. He’s not invincible.

Antonio had a tough season in 2013, in part due to a season long hip problem. He should be back to full strength when 2014 opens, but do we know? Will he ever be a consistent shutdown corner? We don’t know. Competition from a young but experienced, talented player like Munnerlyn could just bring out the best in Cromartie.

Cro is likely to be released, and then re-signed at a much more cap-friendly rate. The money will be there, and shouldn’t be an issue.

Here are Captain’s stats from his first five seasons, courtesy of Pro Football Reference:

Defense & Fumbles

Def Interceptions Fumbles Tackles
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS Sk Int Yds TD Lng PD FF Fmb FR Yds TD Tkl Ast Sfty AV
2009 21 CAR PR 41 15 4 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 2 0 0 37 5 0
2010 22 CAR lcb/PR 41 16 5 3 37 1 37 12 0 2 1 0 0 41 4 4
2011 23 CAR CB 41 14 14 2.0 0 0 0 0 5 2 0 1 0 0 37 15 4
2012 24 CAR LCB 41 16 11 2 107 2 74 9 0 1 0 0 0 46 13 6
2013 25 CAR LCB/RCB/rcb 41 16 16 3.0 2 86 2 45 12 1 0 1 0 0 52 25 8
Career 77 50 5.0 7 230 5 74 39 4 5 5 0 0 213 62 22

You can see, it would be far from the end of the world if Munnerlyn needed to play. He can more than do the job.

Think about the influence that Munnerlyn could have on Dee Milliner. With all due respect to Cromartie as well as Kyle Wilson, the two of them didn’t do much for Milliner’s game for most of the 2013 season. That’s not to say that they didn’t try, they surely did. It just didn’t translate into his performance on the field.

It wasn’t until the arrival of Ed Reed, that we saw the true potential from Dee Milliner. Milliner was huge, and made everyone forget the “bust” word that was beginning to be used when describing him.

Well, keeping Ed Reed in 2014 may prove to be a bad idea due to his age. At 35 years old, Ed Reed may not be the best choice for a team that is getting younger. Bringing in a good cover corner, being someone who plays the same position as Milliner, could be a great influence on him.

The Jets should take a look at Captain Munnerlyn. It won’t be a flashy signing, but it would be one that would improve the backline of a defense that was susceptible to the big play.

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