The Panthers are expected to decline Dontari Poe’s $9.8MM option for 2020, sources tell Jourdan Rodrigue and Joseph Person of The Athletic. With that, the nose tackle is now on course for free agency later this month.
Poe managed four sacks from the interior last year and played well, but he’s also coming up on his 30th birthday in August and recovering from quadriceps surgery. The Panthers, who are in the midst of a rebuild, seem intent on overhauling their defensive line, and Poe is not part of their plan.
Seven defensive linemen are ticketed for the open market and, according to Rodrigue and Person, the only DL they want to retain is Mario Addison, assuming he’d be willing to sign a short-term and team-friendly deal. Gerald McCoy, Bruce Irvin, and Vernon Butler are among the other Panthers linemen that will be changing unis in 2020.
The unit will look drastically different in 2020, though Kawann Short will return after losing much of 2019 to rotator cuff surgery. With Poe out of the picture, they’re on the hunt for a starting nose tackle. That search that could draw them to Auburn’s Derrick Brown or South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw, as Person and Rodrigue write.