The people spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn't been made official.
Financial terms were not available.
Cole, 33, started 13 games last season for Carolina's second-ranked defense and had 15 tackles and one sack. He's not the type to fill up a stat sheet, with his primary responsibility taking up blockers at the point of attack and providing linebackers freedom to run and make plays.
The 6-foot-2, 335-pound Cole has played eight seasons in the NFL and started 47 games. Prior to joining the Panthers he spent time with Minnesota, Detroit, Green Bay and Seattle.
His best game last season came in a 20-10 win over Miami when he had three tackles and one sack.
Cole was part of a unit that led the NFL with 60 sacks in 2014, led by middle linebacker and AP Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly.
It's unclear if Cole will remain a starter this coming season.
The Panthers drafted Star Lotulelei and Kawaan Short with their first two picks in 2013 and view the duo as the future of their interior defensive line. Lotulelei was a regular starter last season, while Short played in a reserve role.
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