The Carolina Panthers have arguably the best defensive line in the league, as the defensive end duo of Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy do an amazing job of putting pressure on the quarterback with Star Lotulelei, Kawann Short, and Colin Cole solidifying things up the middle. Johnson and Hardy were always doing great work, but the Panthers needed to draft Short and Lotuelelei with their first two picks in the 2013 NFL Draft in order for their defensive line and run defense to take off. Before those two were brought on, their run defense up the middle was porous, and both were high-impact rookies, with Lotuelelei’s play being especially important.
Cole’s emergence as a solid defensive tackle was also important to the team’s vast amount of success last season, and the Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person reports that Cole and the Panthers are currently in contract talks. The 33-year-old hasn’t received a lick of interest outside of Carolina, so it would be a huge shock for him not to re-sign with the team. Cole is a key cog on the Panthers elite defensive line, and he’s always been expected to re-sign.
The Panthers won’t have to spend much to keep Cole around, as the veteran will likely make something at or near the minimum next season (we’ll see if there are any incentives in the contract). He’s a solid, cheap player for sure, and it’s good to hear that the Panthers are trying to iron something out with the stout run-stopper.