5 Panthers players who cannot start 2022 season on a sour note

(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Damien Wilson
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Damien Wilson /
4 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Ioannidis /

4. player. 87. . DT. Carolina Panthers. MATT IOANNIDIS

Matt Ioannidis – Carolina Panthers DT

Losing Haason Reddick and DaQuan Jones in free agency is a major blow to the defensive front. Both players were established starters and key contributors for the Carolina Panthers in 2021 and whether their numbers can be replicated will go a long way to determining the team’s chances next season.

One notable free-agent arrival was Matt Ioannidis, who was snapped up quickly by his former college coach Matt Rhule following his release by the Washington Commanders. The lineman has carved a successful career for himself and could make an immediate impact back with some familiar faces in a defensive scheme he knows well.

Ioannidis is capable of generating pressure from the interior and also has experience playing as a defensive end. Versatility is a trait that the Panthers value heavily, but the player is likely to occupy one of the defensive tackle positions alongside Derrick Brown unless something drastic happens in training camp.

Although Rhule guys normally get more leeway than most, the Panthers have one of two talented youngsters at the position who’ll also be vying for prominent reps. Daviyon Nixon and Phil Hoskins could have a lot more to come after flashing as rookies, so the margin for error is slim where Ioannidis is concerned.

Experience will help Ioannidis. And hopefully, the Temple product can use his recent release as a source of motivation.