Why did Carolina let him go? Were they hoping to sign him back?
Money is the key and overarching reason why. They liked Mitchell, they hoped to have him back -- but the dollars couldn't work out. Part of that is GM Dave Gettleman's feeling that he can find another guy to fill the boid. He was a long time Pro Scout for the Giants and loves watching film, so I'm sure he thinks he can find another cast-off like Mitchell.
Was his sack on Colin Kaepernick a fluke, or did you see those kinds of plays from Mitchell all year?
It wasn't a fluke, because he has that ability but we didn't see a ton of those moments. Part of that is purely the DL. When you generate that much pressure from your front four it's hard to give other guys pass rushing opportunities. Mitchell was more a "right place, right time" guy -- which sounds like a backhanded compliment, but it's a testament to him being a smart player.
What did you first think when Carolina signed him? The whole second round pick from Oakland thing?
It didn't really move the needle. The Panthers' safety position was in such flux that we figured he could compete, but didn't expect anything. In camp he really separated himself from the pack and I saw something there. That came to fruition. In terms of the draft we all figured it was "Oakland being Oakland" which is to say there was a belief he was never developed as much as he was overdrafted.
The Panthers defense is absolutely loaded, so is this just a drop in the bucket, or do you think the Panthers will really miss him this season?
I don't think they'll really miss him because everything is about the front seven on this team. He stood out in a sea of mediocrity, but so long as the defensive ends get pressure things will be okay. That said, provided he didn't thrive because of that pressure I think he's a guy who will look a lot better on other teams than he did in Carolina.
Describe Mike Mitchell's time as a Panther in five words or less.
Big plays, bad emotional penalties.