Bringing back nickelback Captain Munnerlyn no-brainer for Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers wrapped up homecoming Friday by signing former Minnesota Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn to a four-year deal, according to a league source.

Munnerlyn spent his first five seasons (2009-13) with Carolina, where his primary role was nickelback. That will be his primary role again, with 2016 rookies James Bradberry and Daryl Worley penciled in as the every-down corners.

It was the second homecoming of the day. Defensive end Julius Peppers also agreed to return to Carolina, where he spent his first eight seasons (2002-09).

Terms: Four years, $21 million with $10.5 million guaranteed and a $6 million signing bonus.

ESPN 150 ranking: 70th

Grade -- A: General manager Dave Gettleman didn’t have room under the salary cap to keep Munnerlyn after the 2013 season, and the Panthers have struggled to find a consistent nickelback ever since. Gettleman had the money this time and didn’t hesitate to use it to bring Munnerlyn back. Credit Munnerlyn for not burning any bridges when he left, as former Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith and running back DeAngelo Williams did. That left the door open for this reunion that made too much sense not to happen.

What it means: It means the secondary, a weak link to begin the 2016 season after losing Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman to Washington, should be a strength. You have a solid mixture of experience in Munnerlyn with safeties Kurt Coleman and Mike Adams to go with rising stars Bradberry and Worley. If one struggles -- specifically Worley -- Munnerlyn also has the experience to play outside. Again, the move made too much sense.

What’s the risk: Absolutely none. You bring back a player who is passionate about wanting to play for the Panthers and is solid at what he does from the nickel spot. It would have been a bigger risk not to bring back Munnerlyn.