In attempts to bolster this group, Carolina added another perennial Pro Bowler in Gerald McCoy following his release from division rival Tampa Bay. McCoy is easily the highest profile free agent signing from this offseason and should make an instant impact in boosting what was a fairly pedestrian group last season. While McCoy is coming off a “down” year, his six sacks would’ve been the second most on the team behind only Mario Addison while his 21 quarterback hits would’ve been first on the team by a landslide. So even if he just duplicates this production, he adds plenty of value as a pass rusher on a team that desperately needs it.
Due to the scheme change, which I will touch on more below, the group also adds former defensive ends Efe Obada, who has bulked up 30 pounds since the start of last season, and Bryan Cox Jr., who played both end and tackle in limited playing time last season anyway. Also on the roster are Woodrow Hamilton, Elijah Qualls and Destiny Vaeao, all of whom were added either in the offseason or at the tail end of last season. Barring an unexpected breakout, though, these three will likely only be training camp bodies, with potentially a practice squad spot for one of them.