Top 4 depth chart positions where the Panthers spend their money

Dean Jones
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Kawann Short
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Kawann Short /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /

4. player. 87. . . . LINEBACKER

Carolina Panthers No. 4: Linebacker ($16.04 million)

The linebacker position is somewhere that poses some concern in 2020. This is down in no small part to Luke Kuechly’s retirement. And it remains to be seen just who is going to step up and fill the void left by a player who is sure to end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

There are plenty of options available for the Panthers to have a look at during camp. This is despite the decisions of undrafted free-agent Jordan Mack and Christian Miller to opt-out due to health concerns.

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The cap figure of just over $16 million will surely come down somewhat once final cuts are made. And this financial commitment is led by Shaq Thompson’s $7.2 million, which equates to 3.45 percent of the team’s overall salary commitments next season.

Thompson is set for a significant pay rise in 2021. And the outside linebacker is going to be counted on considerably to provide production and leadership in equal measure.

Tahir Whitehead’s free-agent arrival comes with a cap hit of $2.5 million, which puts him second on the linebacker list. He is going to be the immediate replacement for Kuechly in 2020. And it remains to be seen whether the former Las Vegas Raider can do enough to secure a longer-term commitment from the franchise next year.

No other player on the depth chart is making more than $1 million next season. The likes of Marquis Haynes ($863,089), Jermaine Carter ($818,343), and Andre Smith ($772,264) are the next highest-paid. But what role they will have during the upcoming campaign will be largely dependent on their performance during training camp.

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