Shaq Thompson needs to back up his big talk in Week 11
By Dean Jones
Thompson’s production for the Carolina Panthers in 2020
There was much expected of Shaq Thompson this season. The shock retirement of Luke Kuechly was a big blow to the Carolina Panthers and they were counting on the former Washington standout to step up and fill his enormous void.
Thompson himself appeared confident in his ability to take the necessary step forward and stated as much during the offseason. However, his overall standard of play hasn’t been what the Panthers hoped for besides his outstanding outing against the Buccaneers.
Carolina has suffered some real struggles at the second level, to put it mildly. Tahir Whitehead has been arguably their worst free-agent signing judging by his lackluster performances and Thompson has also been a weak link at times.
Both veterans have been outshone by rookie sensation Jeremy Chinn, which is a damning indictment of their respective contributions.
Thompson has recorded 80 combined tackles, 45 solo tackles, four tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and four passes defended this season. He has given up a 77.6 percent completion rate on targets thrown his way, missed 4.8 percent of his tackles, and boasts a modest 55.6 grade from Pro Football Focus.
Considering that Thompson is set for a base salary increase from $4 million to a little more than $10 million in 2021, much more will be needed to earn this sort of financial commitment.