NFL Football

AP source: Panthers, Poe agree to 3-year, $28 million deal

By STEVE REED

AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Carolina Panthers and unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Dontari Poe have agreed on a three-year, $28 million deal, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Panthers have not announced the move.

The 27-year-old Poe played five seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs and went to two Pro Bowls after being selected with the 11th overall pick in the NFL draft in 2012. Poe spent last season with the Falcons and played in 16 games and had 39 tackles, 2 + sacks and two passes defensed.

The 6-foot-3, 346-pound Poe is considered a "space eater" who'll take the place of Star Lotulelei, who signed on Wednesday with the Buffalo Bills.

The moves - or at least the financial investment - comes as a bit of a surprise.

It was expected the Panthers wouldn't re-sign Lotulelei because they had invested $80.5 million over five years to re-sign defensive tackle Kawann Short last year - and because they had former first-round draft pick Vernon Butler waiting in the wings.

But the addition of Poe is a big investment for a Carolina team that was only $24 million under the salary cap.

That leaves the often-injured Butler's long-term future with the team unclear.

Poe's best season might have come in 2013 when he had a career-high 51 tackles, 4 + sacks and four passes defensed. He followed that Pro Bowl season up with another in 2014, registering 45 tackles and a career-high six sacks.

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Updated March 15, 2018

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