5 Panthers players who could bounce back from disappointing 2020

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Juston Burris
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Juston Burris /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers OLB

One has to go beyond the statistics to see just where Shaq Thompson struggled for the Carolina Panthers last season. The outside linebacker went over 100 tackles for the second straight year, but his overall influence was a far cry from what the player intended following the retirement of legendary linebacker Luke Kuechly after eight phenomenal years with the organizaton.

The former first-round pick clearly needs a good, productive presence alongside him in order to thrive. Thompson didn’t have that through the first half of the previous campaign and things only started improving slightly when Jermaine Carter came into the lineup.

Carolina opted to restructure the Washington product’s deal rather than cut him loose with a big pay rise coming his way. Another contract from given out by Marty Hurney that the Panthers will be counting the cost of for the foreseeable future.

Thompson also got a big shot in the arm heading into 2021 with the signing of Denzel Perryman.

The free-agent signing from the Los Angeles Chargers seems tailormade for this young, athletic defense. Providing there are no problems with injury, Perryman’s arrival should bring an upturn in Thompson’s fortunes for good measure.

Carolina won’t cut Thompson any time before 2023. It just doesn’t make financial sense anymore.

However, if things don’t start improving for the player, he might be on the trading block in the not-too-distant future.