Examining the top-5 salary-cap hits on the Carolina Panthers in 2021
Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers OLB
- 2021 salary-cap hit: $8.05 million
Shaq Thompson is one of the very few solid defensive pieces the Carolina Panthers have on their roster. He is still on a very affordable contract and will provide some stability as the team continues rebuilding what once was an extremely dominant defense.
They remained respectable in 2020, giving up 360.1 yards per game. However, for those who watched the team closely the defensive success was often because of scheming and the opponents they were facing more than anything else.
That being said, it was a well-coached unit in need of talent in every position group.
Thompson’s cap hit sits at just over $8 million this season and makes up 4.3 percent of the Panthers’ cap. The outside linebacker isn’t an elite player, but he is above average and could be a great piece in a well-built defense.
Thompson gets much more expensive for the Panthers after this season, meaning they will likely be watching very closely how much of an impact player he is for the team regardless of their record.
As for 2021, Thompson is an important piece for a defense looking to take a step forward and find consistency. If they can achieve this and get a healthy Christian McCaffrey back would put Carolina back in the conversation for the playoffs.