Defensive tackle Dontari Poe says weight won't be an issue with Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Pro Bowl defensive tackle Dontari Poe doesn’t expect his weight to be an issue with the Carolina Panthers.

Poe reportedly had $500,000 worth of incentives written into last year’s one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons. He received $125,000 when he got below 330 pounds after being around the 350 range in 2016 with Kansas City.

Asked if there were such incentives written into the three-year, $27 million deal with Carolina he signed on Friday, Poe said, “It’s in pretty good control. I’m around 335, 340, and will probably stay around that."

Poe was signed to be a space-eater, the role Star Lotulelei filled for the past five years. The Panthers didn’t have the salary-cap space to keep Lotulelei, who signed a five-year, $50 million deal -- a reported $18 million was guaranteed -- with Buffalo.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Poe will start beside Pro Bowler Kawann Short, known more as a pass-rusher.

“He’s not a secret," Poe said of Short. “It’s a fun defensive line. A fun defense altogether, and I’m excited to be a part of it."

New defensive coordinator Eric Washington, considered one of the best defensive line coaches in the NFL before his recent promotion to replace Steve Wilks, is excited to have Poe. “In short, he really fits us,” Washington told Panthers.com. “He has all the traits, the tools, the attitude, the mentality that we’re looking for with the way we want to play defense.

“He can play on an edge. He can play over the center. He can collapse the pocket. He has the ability to win one-on-one and affect the passing game by rushing the quarterback. For a man his size, he has initial quickness and get-off like we talk about all the time. He can attack."