Spielman wasn’t the first GM of the salary-cap era to release a high-priced player on the doorstep of his 36th birthday. Also, keep in mind that 31 other teams played last season without Winfield.
We’ll never know how Winfield would have performed at 36. But we do know that Josh Robinson, Winfield’s presumed heir apparent as starter who can slide inside over the slot, failed when his timetable was accelerated by a full year. That’s why Winfield’s former jobs now belong to the 26-year-old Munnerlyn.
“The scary thing is it seems like I’m a natural over the slot,” Munnerlyn said. “I’ve only been playing it for two years, but I feel I’m one of the best to ever do it.”
The Captain also is smart enough to leave some future wiggle room in the “Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers” debate. Not a bad idea, considering Rodgers’ career regular-season stats against the Vikings include a 71.7 completion percentage, 26 touchdowns, four interceptions and a 117.9 passer rating that is the highest by one quarterback against a single opponent since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
“Man, that back-shoulder fade of Rodgers’ is really a beast,” he said. “If you play your man high, Rodgers throws that back-shoulder fade. If you play low, he leads his guy perfectly downfield. You turn your back on him and he runs for a first down.
“We play Drew and Aaron this year, but now that I’m playing Rodgers twice a year, I’m sure my answer might change.”
Mark Craig • email@example.com