5 studs and duds from Carolina Panthers’ win at Washington

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /

Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers OLB

Shaq Thompson‘s resurgence over the second half of the season has been extraordinary. The outside linebacker was one of the real disappointments earlier in the campaign, but what we’ve seen from the player during recent displays all-but guarantee that he’ll be around for a big payday in 2021.

The Carolina Panthers saw enough in Thompson to give him a contract extension that will see his base salary skyrocket by more than $6 million next season. Releasing the former first-round pick is still a possibility, although it is going to take a brave man to do so given the way he’s impacting games currently.

That will be a decision for the new general manager, whoever that may be.

But the Panthers would be far worse off for not having Thompson at the second level.

His energy in and around the line of scrimmage was a sign of the player’s increased confidence of late. Thompson laid plenty of big hits on Washington’s offensive weapons and managed to get himself over the 100-tackle mark for the second consecutive year.

Thompson has been a critical component in Carolina’s transformation on defense as the season’s gone on. And he just might have saved himself from a possible release in the process.