Blake Schuster Correspondent I Tim Warner/Getty Images

When NFL free agency opens up on March 18, Dontari Poe will be one of the league's stars looking for a new home.

According to The Athletic's Joseph Person, the Carolina Panthers will not pick up the option on Poe's contract.

The team will save $9.8 million in cap space with Poe's exit.

Poe had originally signed a three-year, $28 million deal in Carolina in 2018 after one year in Atlanta. Previously he spent five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, who drafted him 11th overall in the 2012 NFL draft.

Poe's numbers picked up after his first season with the Panthers. In 2019 he played 11 games, combined for 22 tackles, four sacks and seven tackles for loss. The defensive tackle did, however, play in his fewest games since he came into the league as a result of a torn quad he suffered in Week 12, which required Carolina to place him on injured reserve.

Before joining the Panthers, Poe hadn't played fewer than 70 percent of his team's defensive snaps in his career. In 2018 that number dropped to 51.7 percent, per Football Reference. In 2019 it was 52.1 percent in part due to his injury.

Poe will turn 30 years old when the 2020 season kicks off, and the market for his services remains unknown at this time. The defensive tackles heading to free agency this year are headlined by Linval Joseph, Damon Harrison, Michael Brockers, Mike Daniels, Brandon Mebane and Beau Allen. Poe figures to slide somewhere near the top of that class.

Meanwhile, the Panthers are now set to enter free agency with an estimated $24.65 million in salary-cap space-the 11th lowest amount in the league.


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