Panthers move on from DBs Captain Munnerlyn, Mike Adams

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In a continued effort to get younger and faster defensively, the Carolina Panthers are moving on from nickelback Captain Munnerlyn and safety Mike Adams, the team announced Monday.

The release of Munnerlyn, 30, will clear $2 million in cap space and give the Panthers just over $17 million in total cap space.

Adams, 37, posted Monday on Instagram that he'd been informed the organization would not re-sign him in 2019.

Earlier this offseason, outside linebacker Thomas Davis, 35, was told he wouldn't be re-signed and defensive end Julius Peppers, 39, announced his retirement.

All four players in their 30s started this past season -- Munnerlyn in the nickel package -- as Carolina struggled defensively to the point where head coach Ron Rivera took over the defensive playcalling late in a 7-9 season.

Rivera will continue to call the defensive plays in 2019.

Both Davis and Adams were told the Panthers were moving in a different direction. Part of that approach will be implementing some 3-4 scheme into the 4-3 scheme Carolina has used predominantly since Rivera arrived in 2011.

Carolina ranked 15th in total defense this past season after ranking in the top 10 for five of the previous six seasons.

Rivera admitted last season that the turnover at defensive coordinator took its toll. Eric Washington was the third coordinator in as many years after Sean McDermott was named the head coach at Buffalo in 2017 and Steve Wilks the head coach at Arizona in 2018.

Age also was becoming a factor, prompting the Panthers to get younger defensively, as they have done on offense the past few seasons.

The first move in that process was re-signing 27-year-old safety Eric Reid to a three-year deal. Rashaan Gaulden, a third-round pick in 2018, will get a chance to replace Adams at safety.