The Carolina Panthers had 11 players who would become free agents after this season but that group got smaller by one with the one-year, $1.105 million dollar contract signed by defensive tackle Colin Cole on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s David Newton and John Clayton.
This will be Cole’s third season with the Panthers after spending time with the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. The one concern with Cole may be his age, who will be turning 35 in June. However he was out of the league in 2012 and 2013 and Cole believes this could actually extend his career. Cole said, “It's just like a tire not being driven for however long. That tire still has tread on it not being driven.”
Last year, Cole was a key contributor to the defensive tackle rotation alongside Kawann Short, Star Lotulelei and Dwan Edwards. Pro Football Focus credits him with 11 starts last year however he finished the year with the fewest snaps (420) among this group.
One of his biggest moments came in the Divisional Round when he was asked to start for the injured Lotulelei against the Seattle Seahawks. He helped keep the Seahawks run game in check for a majority of the game.
This is not a move that will make waves in the NFL but Cole is the type of veteran that makes this defense so tough to beat. The fact that the Panthers can rotate four defensive tackles for the two spots on the defensive line helps keep them fresh as well as wear down the opposing offensive line.