Should the Carolina Panthers Re-Sign Matthew Ioannidis?

Matthew Ioannidis Panthers

With a new head coach in town, the Carolina Panthers can officially start the process of building a competitive roster for the 2023 season. Of course, before they can add any other players, they first need to address whether or not to bring back their own guys. Matthew Ioannidis is arguably the best of the Carolina Panthers impending free agents, but is the 29-year-old worth the money?

READ MORE: Should the Panthers Re-Sign Sam Darnold?

Why the Panthers Should (And Shouldn’t) Re-Sign Matthew Ioannidis

Why They Should

Matthew Ioannidis isn’t going to set the world on fire, but he is a solid football player that clearly belongs as a starter on an NFL defense. During his first season with the Panthers, the former fifth-round pick started 13 games, recording one sack, 37 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, and nine quarterback hits. Of course, stats aren’t the best way to truly evaluate the impact of an interior defensive lineman, as a lot of time, Ioannidis was responsible for occupying space and eating up blockers so others could make a play.

There is no perfect metric for defensive tackle play, but the best one available is Pro Football Focus grades. According to their metrics, Ioannidis finished the year with a 66.4 grade, ranking as the 43rd-best defensive tackle in the league among 126 eligible players. While nobody would confuse him with Aaron Donald, he’s a sound player against both the run and the pass and can stay on the field on all three downs.

While Ioannidis is on the older side, he should have plenty left in his tank. It should go without saying that the Panthers probably won’t win the Super Bowl next year, so they shouldn’t tie up too many resources for an aging player. Fortunately, Ioannidis is entering his age-29 season, so he should have a few more good seasons left.

Why They Shouldn’t

Everything in this world has a price, and the only reason the Panthers shouldn’t bring back Matthew Ioannidis is if he receives a massive offer on the open market. Defensive tackle is one of the less important positions in football, and a rebuilding team like Carolina shouldn’t get in a bidding war for a player that can only provide so much of an impact.

Fortunately for Carolina, this doesn’t seem particularly likely. Last year, Ioannidis signed a one-year, $9.5 million contract that only carried a $3.8 million cap hit. While he definitely justified that investment, he didn’t outplay it. Additionally, this is a good class for defensive tackles, so any team that wants to spend big at the position will likely pay up for Fletcher Cox or Jarran Reed. Chances are, Ionnaidis won’t break the bank, and perhaps he’ll come at a discount since he is another year older.

The Panthers could easily sign Ionnadis to a two-year deal and structure it in a way that would minimize his overall cap hit. For instance, the Panthers could include a financial incentive if he records two or more sacks. Because he only recorded one sack in 2022, this would be considered “Not Likely to be Earned” meaning that the number wouldn’t affect Carolina’s 2023 cap number. If he does record two or more sacks, that cap charge would impact the 2024 Carolina Panthers.

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