The Panthers are signing defensive tackle Dontari Poe, according to Kimberley A. Martin of the Washington Post (on Twitter). It’s a three-year deal worth between $9MM and $10MM per year, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
Martin specifies (via Twitter) this is a three-year, $27MM agreement.
Poe takes over for defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who departed in free agency to sign with the Bills. He’ll be joined by Kawann Short in the middle with Julius Peppers and Mario Addison on the bookends, so Carolina will continue to have a fearsome front four.
After agreeing to a one-year deal with the Falcons several days into the 2017 free agency period, Poe drew more definitive interest this year. An endurance machine for a defensive tackle, Poe returned to his durable ways by playing in all 18 Falcons games last season. During the regular season, the three-down tackle logged 880 snaps — third-most among pure DTs last year. The two-time Pro Bowler, who ranked as PFR’s No. 4 free agent still on the board, will be set for his age-28 season.
Poe spent last season with the Falcons, though he was not expected to return due to his expected market. Indeed, he has secured a bump in average annual value, but this time over a longer span.
The former Chiefs first-round pick had to settle for a one-year deal last year because he was coming off one of his worst seasons. Poe underwent back surgery in in 2015 and in his final two Chiefs years wasn’t quite as dominant as his 2013-14 versions, when he combined for 10.5 sacks and looked on track to a top-market extension. The Chiefs, however, did not keep him. But Poe rebuilt his value in Atlanta, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 35 interior defender last season.
He’ll join Short and form what figures to be a difficult interior tandem for offensive lines to handle come September.
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Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.