Waived Carolina Panthers starter gets picked up by New England Patriots

Marquan McCall has found a new home.

The nose tackle, who was listed as a starter on the Carolina Panthers’ depth chart earlier in the preseason before being waived Monday, was picked up off the waiver wire Tuesday, per a media report from Field Yates.

He has joined the New England Patriots.

McCall’s departure came as a surprise to many on Monday. The 2022 undrafted free agent started against the New York Jets in Week 1. He then played a reserve role against the Giants but still made an impact — notching two tackles in 18 snaps.

Head coach Frank Reich told reporters Monday that the decision ultimately came down to “a fit for us and what we’re trying to do” — a reference to Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero’s more fluid 3-4 scheme versus the more traditional 4-3 scheme Carolina operated under last season.

Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Marquan McCall during the team’s Fan Fest practice at Bank of America Stadium on Wednesday, August 2, 2023.

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Assistant general manager Dan Morgan essentially echoed that reasoning Tuesday.

“You want guys who fit your scheme,” Morgan told reporters, adding that it was a good time to “move on and give him an opportunity to find a new home.”

The move was ultimately done to make room to acquire veteran cornerback Troy Hill, who will help a defensive backfield that has struggled with injury attrition the past few seasons. Hill officially signed with the team Tuesday, per the NFL transaction wire.

McCall now joins one of the NFL’s better defensive lines and one of the best defensive minds in football with coach Bill Belichick. He is the third Matt Rhule-era holdover to be claimed off waivers this summer. The others: defensive tackle Bravvion Roy (Bears) and linebacker Arron Mosby (Packers).

Mike Kaye contributed reporting.