How Yetur Gross-Matos Fits in Carolina

By Nick Polak on April 25, 2020 at 9:40 am
Oct 5, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos (99) pressures Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Jack Plummer (13) during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium.
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Yetur Gross-Matos is officially a member of the Carolina Panthers, joining former Penn Stater Matt Rhule and former Penn State graduate assistant Joe Burrow in Charlotte. The big-time defensive end will have a chance to join what is suddenly an incredibly talented defensive line that will have to compete with the new-look, Tom Brady-led Buccaneers twice a year.

The retooled Panther defensive line consists of 2019 breakout rookie Brian Burns, the consistently great Kawann Short at defensive tackle, top-10 pick Derrick Brown out of Auburn, and Gross-Matos (along with the recently signed Stephen Weatherly). If Brown and Gross-Matos develop as expected, it should very quickly become one of the very best units in the league (though Short will be a free agent in 2022).

In the short term, it's hard to imagine a landing spot much better for the star Penn State pass rusher. He becomes part of what is now a dynamic young core between him, Brown, and Burns, that will able to stay together for an extended time on their rookie deals. And thanks to the presence of Weatherly, he won't need to be rushed into action in year one. Defensive coordinator Phil Snow will be able to pick his spots to deploy Gross-Matos and could look to get him involved as both an interior and edge rusher (possibly spelling Short on passing downs).

Weatherly is only under contract for two years, and the contract provides the team a chance to cut him after one season and only take a $2 million dead cap hit. If Gross-Matos can prove that he's ready to take over on a three-down basis, the team could easily move on from Weatherly and give the Penn Stater a full-time role.

No matter how you slice it, it feels like a pretty great match between team and player. Rhule and Snow had a great reputation for developing defensive talent while at Temple and Baylor and are now getting a player in Gross-Matos who still has an impossibly high ceiling. It's a wonderful fit for both sides and one that should prove fruitful for years to come.