Panthers agree to terms with Pro Bowl DT to replace Star Lotulelei

Panthers agree to terms with Pro Bowl DT to replace Star Lotulelei

CHARLOTTE, NC (Jourdan Rodrigue/CharlotteObserver) - The Carolina Panthers have played against him often, and now he'll be on their side.

Carolina reached an agreement to sign former Falcons defensive tackle Dontari Poe on Thursday afternoon, a source confirmed to the Observer.

Poe is expected to sign his contract in the next 24 hours, according to the Washington Post's Kimberley Martin, who originally broke the news of the deal.

The deal will be for three years and $27 million, a source told the Observer.

Poe will immediately start on Carolina's defensive interior to replace former defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who signed with the Buffalo Bills in free agency.

Poe has 15.5 sacks, 179 tackles and 14 passes defensed in his career.

Carolina prizes one "anchor" defensive tackle who can stuff the run while penetrating the opposing line, and who can draw double-teams to free up the explosive edge rushers and interior rushers around him.

The Panthers' rotation will be prodigious in that respect with the addition of Poe and Wednesday's one-year re-signing of veteran defensive end Julius Peppers.

Opposite Poe, Kawann Short has cemented himself as one of the more talented defensive tackles in the league, with a complementary skill set to Poe in that he can stuff the run but is key in penetration and the pass-rush.

Mario Addison will also return as a starter opposite Peppers. The two shared the team lead with 11 sacks each last year.

The Panthers' rotation behind the starters includes 2016 first-round draft pick Vernon Butler behind Short (the two have similar skill sets) and defensive tackle Kyle Love

Carolina still needs depth at edge rusher and likely will address that in April's draft.

Peppers will likely play 40 to 60 percent of defensive snaps to maximize his efficiency. Last season, he rotated with veteran Charles Johnson, who was released by the Panthers earlier this month.

Wes Horton and Bryan Cox Jr. are two up-and-comers at defensive end who showed flashes last season when Johnson served a league suspension.

Carolina also drafted Daeshon Hall last spring, but he spent the year on injured reserve.