Dontari Poe

NFC Contract Details: Zuerlein, Poe, Shell, Vikings

We’ve got a bunch of contract details to pass along, all out of the NFC:

Cowboys To Sign Dontari Poe

Dontari Poe is coming to Dallas. On Wednesday, the Cowboys agreed to sign the defensive tackle, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets

[RELATED: Cowboys’ Travis Frederick Announces Retirement]

Exact terms of the deal are not yet known and the two sides are still hashing out the fine print, but a (virtual) handshake agreement is in place. Poe figures to play a key role for the Cowboys, who are looking to remake their defensive line this offseason.

Poe, a 346-pound force, spent the last two seasons with the Panthers. This year, the club declined his option for the 2020 season, placing him on the free agent pile.

The Cowboys cast a wide net for defensive line help after losing Robert Quinn and Maliek Collins in free agency. Earlier this month, they landed fellow ex-Panthers notable Gerald McCoy, but they also did their homework on Ndamukong SuhDamon HarrisonMike Pennel, and others.

Poe made the Pro Bowl in 2013 and 2014 while he was with the Chiefs. Last year, he managed four sacks from the interior, despite being limited to just eleven regular season games. Historically, he’s been durable – before 2019, he never missed more than one contest in any campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys, Dontari Poe Discussing Deal

Dontari Poe may have a landing spot soon. The veteran defensive tackle is in discussions with the Cowboys on a deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, adding that a contract could be finalized by the end of the day.

In their hunt for defensive tackle help, the Cowboys are also examining the likes of Ndamukong Suh, Damon Harrison and Mike Pennel, NFL.com’s Jane Slater adds (on Twitter). The Cowboys lost Maliek Collins in free agency last week but already made a deal to sign Gerald McCoy. A Poe addition would make this a high-profile interior line and make for an interesting reunion for players who spent last season on Carolina’s defensive front.

The Panthers did not pick up Poe’s 2020 option, sending him to free agency. This Cowboys are the first team to surface as interested in the former first-round pick. A Pro Bowler with the Chiefs back in the 2013-14 seasons, Poe played the past two seasons with the Panthers.

The mammoth nose tackle registered four sacks last season — his most since 2014 — but only played in 11 games. He is recovering from quadriceps surgery. Before 2019, however, Poe had never missed more than one game in a season. He’s been one of the league’s most durable defenders since coming into the league.

It appears the Cowboys are serious about upgrading inside. The McCoy deal and the Poe talks come a year after Dallas drafted Trysten Hill in the second round. Poe played five seasons with the Chiefs before catching on with the Falcons in 2017, and his Atlanta season resulted in a three-year Carolina deal worth nearly $30MM. It will not cost the Cowboys that much to bring in Poe.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Expected To Decline Dontari Poe’s Option

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Sign Stacy McGee and Woodrow Hamilton

The Panthers made a flurry of roster moves on Wednesday morning. Carolina officially moved defensive tackle Dontari Poe and guard Greg Van Roten to the injured reserve and signed defensive linemen Stacy McGee and Woodrow Hamilton, according to Joe Person of The Athletic.

The move to injured reserve was expected for Poe after it was reported earlier this week that he had to undergo surgery for a torn quad. Van Roten, however, left Sunday’s game against the Saints with a toe injury and the severity was not yet known. Now, both are officially out for the season.

McGee is the more well-known of the two new additions. A six-year veteran, McGee played the first four seasons of his career with the Raiders where he served as a swingman, playing nearly every position along the defensive line. After his tenure in Oakland, Washington signed him to a two-year contract that spanned the 2017-18 seasons. Over his career, McGee has appeared in 75 games (29 starts), recorded 116 tackles, and 4 sacks.

Hamilton has bounced between a number of NFL organizations and has appeared in two games since turning pro in 2016. While he does not come with McGee’s resume, he also signed a futures/reserve contract with the Panthers in December of 2018 and was with the organization until final roster cuts on August 30th. His familiarity should help him quickly integrate himself into the rotation.

Panthers’ Dontari Poe Done For Season

3:14pm: Poe’s season will indeed end early. The veteran defensive tackle has elected to undergo surgery on his quad injury, according to ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson (on Twitter). The former first-round pick will undergo the procedure Tuesday morning.

12:53pm: The Panthers fear that Dontari Poe suffered a torn quadriceps muscle in Sunday’s loss to the Saints (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Poe is having an MRI to confirm the injury, but the club thinks they already know the result, which will end Poe’s season. 

The Panthers’ thin playoff hopes took a major blow on Sunday with the loss to New Orleans and it figures to be rough sledding the rest of the way without Poe, who was an anchor for the defensive line. Through eleven games (ten starts), Poe notched 4.0 sacks from the interior, plus 22 tackles and seven tackles for a loss. For his work, Pro Football Focus has Poe rated as the No. 40 interior defensive lineman in the league.

The Panthers can be expected to look into DT help between now and Sunday’s game against the Redskins. While they’re at it, they may also shake up the kicker spot by replacing Joey Slye with another leg.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Cowboys, 49ers, Bucs, Panthers

The Cowboys don’t intend to fire head coach Jason Garrett during the season, but that doesn’t mean they won’t part ways with their head coach after the campaign is concluded, especially if Dallas doesn’t earn a postseason berth (something the team has a 26% chance to do, per FiveThirtyEight.com). Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley has already been mentioned as a potential candidate for the Cowboys if Garrett is shown the door, but owner Jerry Jones, predictably, isn’t tipping his hand on any possible contenders for the head coaching job. “That would be total drawing it out of the air,” Jones said of Riley, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “Totally speculation.” Riley has also been mentioned as a target for the Browns, especially given that he coached Baker Mayfield with the Sooners.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Given how Nick Mullens has played through two starts, he’ll remain the 49ers‘ starting quarterback on an open-ended basis, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters, including Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). Mullens, who started in place on an injured C.J. Beathard in Week 9, completed 73% of his passes and tossed three touchdowns in his first career NFL action. While he came back to Earth a bit in Week 10 (250 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions), he still nearly led San Francisco to a victory over the Giants on Monday night. In the midst of what’s become a lost season, the 49ers might be well-served to get a full look at Mullens, who went undrafted out of Southern Mississippi in 2017.
  • Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David is likely to miss time with a sprained MCL, sources tell Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. While David has yet to be officially ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Giants, the nature of his injury usually dictates a two-to-four weeks absence, per Laine, meaning David could conceivably be sidelined through mid-December. Tampa Bay can ill afford another injury at the linebacker position, as the club has already placed starter Kwon Alexander and reserve Jack Cichy on injured reserve, while 2017 draft choice Kendell Beckwith is still on the non-football injury list.
  • Panthers defensive tackle Dontari Poe collected a $125K bonus today by weighing in at less than 330 pounds, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Poe inked a three-year, $28MM contract with Carolina this offseason, and the deal provides the opportunity for the interior defender to collect up to $500K per season via weight bonuses. The former Chief and Falcon is playing far fewer snaps in 2018 than he has in years prior — whereas he typically played in 75%+ of his team’s snaps from 2012-16, he’s now sitting at the 50% mark with Carolina.

NFC Contract Details: Cousins, Bradford, Poe

Here are figures on some of the recent contracts signed around the NFL, with all links going to Twitter unless noted otherwise.

Panthers To Sign Dontari Poe

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.

[RELATED: Panthers Depth Chart]

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

The Top 25 Remaining NFL Free Agents

Many of this year’s top free agents came off of the board during the legal tampering period, including Kirk Cousins, Trumaine Johnson, Sammy Watkins, and Allen Robinson. Still plenty of the names from our list of the Top 50 Free Agents remain, including some new additions. Here’s a rundown of the players to keep an eye on as free agency officially begins, ranked roughly by their expected contract value:

1. Ndamukong Suh, DT (Dolphins): The Dolphins bailed on Suh’s mega contract midway through, freeing him up to sign another high-priced contract. He won’t get anything close to a six-year, $114MM deal this time around, but he should settle in at an AAV that keeps him among the best compensated players at his position. Last year, Pro Football Focus ranked Suh fifth among 122 interior defenders. 

2. Tyrann Mathieu, S (Cardinals): The Cardinals worked feverishly to hammer out a new contract with the Honey Badger, but the two sides could not come to terms on a deal to lessen his 2018 cap hit. He has been released, allowing him to hit free agency as the best safety available. The Jets are not believed to be interested, despite his connection with head coach Todd Bowles. The other tenant of the Meadowlands, however, could have interest thanks to the presence of former Arizona DC James Bettcher.

3. Sheldon Richardson, DT (Seahawks): Richardson may have lost some luster following the trade that sent him from the Jets to the Seahawks, but he among the best defensive tackles currently available. With plenty of cap space remaining, Richardson should find a lucrative deal, though it probably won’t come from Seattle. Our own Dallas Robinson estimates that Richardson will fetch about $9MM/year.

4. Dontari Poe, DT (Falcons): Poe missed out on a big payday last year when teams shied away from him due to lingering back issues. After turning in his second consecutive 16-game season, things could be different this time. For the record – Poe has missed only two regular season games over the course of his career, so he boasts a better attendance record than a lot of other veterans on this list. He’s unlikely to circle back to Atlanta.

5. Josh Sitton, G (Bears): With Andrew Norwell off of the board, Sitton stands as the best guard on the market. He’s missed six games over the last two years, but he has four Pro Bowl appearances to his credit. He’s set to meet with the Dolphins.

6. A.J. McCarron, QB (Bengals): It’s difficult to peg McCarron’s value heading into free agency. Outside of some quality starts in 2015, there isn’t much film out there on McCarron, despite that fact that he has spent four years in the NFL. Hue Jackson was itching to reunite with McCarron, but the Browns no longer seem a likely destination for him after the acquisition of Tyrod Taylor. It’s also hard to see him landing with the QB-needy Jets after they re-signed Josh McCown and added Teddy Bridgewater. McCarron will find a home, but it may not be as a starter. [UPDATE: McCarron has signed with the Bills]

7. E.J. Gaines, CB (Bills): Injuries in the fall limited Gaines to just 11 games last season, but he proved to be a quality return for the Bills in the Watkins trade, in addition to the second-round pick that came with him. Gaines graded out as the No. 13 cornerback in the league last year, per PFF, and he just turned 26 in February. Gaines missed all of ’15 due to injury and didn’t look all that sharp in ’16, but timing is everything in free agency. You can expect multiple teams to call on him and the Texans could still have interest, even after inking Aaron Colvin.

8. Eric Reid, S (49ers): Reid is just 26 and is undoubtedly a starting quality safety. He has both youth and versatility on his side, but it’s possible that his anthem protest participation could hurt him when it comes to some suitors. Injuries over the last two seasons will hurt his market as well.

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