The signing of Matt Ioannidis in the offseason gives Carolina an experienced defensive tackle that offers experience and veteran leadership that can improve the younger core Carolina owns.
The seventh-year DT can mesh with the younger players that improve them while establishing a chemistry that can improve an already solid defensive line.
In 2021, Carolina ranked fourth against the pass with a little over 3,200 yards allowed and second in total yards allowed with 5,201. There is already a foundation for a great defense there, but Ioannidis is a buy-low option that pays dividends this season.
That is if the defensive tackle stays healthy, and he can perform at the same level he did in 2018 and 2019.
Those two seasons highlight Ioannidis’ career as he combined for 16 sacks, 95 tackles and 27 quarterback hits. It looked like he found a groove. But the 2020 season, he tore his biceps against the Cleveland Browns, so he played just three games.
While he played in 16 games of the 2021 season, he started only six of those contests and his production fell drastically in that time.
The positive is the deal is for one year, and if Ioannidis returns to the 2018-19 from, then he will improve the defensive line even more.
Another positive is head coach Matt Rhule named Ioannidis along with JJ Jansen, Shaq Thompson, and Johnny Hekker as veterans that the younger players can learn from in their development. This shows a level of trust among the coaching staff and may show that the DT has impressed his new team already. But this may not be a surprise to Rhule or defensive coordinator Phil Snow.
Ioannidis played four seasons at Temple University under Rhule and Snow. It is safe to say there is a relationship there already, and both coaches know what they are getting with Ioannidis. He is a fiery tackle with a competitive fire that showed in his training camp with the Panthers.
In training camp Ioannidis said he approached it like a rookie season, humbled, all ears, ready to take it all in.
While it will be worth watching how he makes an impact on the line and his stats, it will be interesting to see what impact he brings that may not show up in the stat sheet.
This is one of the better signings Carolina made, and Ioannidis was considered a premier tackle on the market.
While the black and blue lost Haason Reddick in free agency, this was a good way to replace him. Ioannidis could aid the development of Yetur Gross-Matos, who can play a vital role in the defense now that he may take on a larger role.
This was not one of the most talked about moves of the offseason, not even the biggest the Panthers made, but this can be one of the best at a low cost.