4 worst contracts being paid by the Carolina Panthers in 2021

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson and Jermaine Carter
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson and Jermaine Carter /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers OLB

  • 2021 salary – $8.05 million

Another player that renegotiated his contract this offseason was Shaq Thompson. The outside linebacker was due for a bumper pay rise this spring before cap complications emerged, leaving the Carolina Panthers with no choice other than to put this back and leave more money on the table over the final two years of his deal.

Thompson is still getting paid handsomely in 2021. According to Spotrac, the former Washington standout has the team’s second-highest active cap hit at a little more than $8 million, which some might argue he doesn’t really deserve after another campaign littered with inconsistencies.

It’s clear that Thompson missed the presence of Luke Kuechly alongside him at the second level. Notions of the 2015 first-round pick becoming the new defensive lynchpin never really materialized and it’s going to take a huge effort from the player to convince Carolina’s coaching staff he’s worth a huge cap hit coming his way in 2022 and 2023.

However, considering it will cost the Panthers $18.26 million if they decide to leave Thompson on the roster, it represents a significant dilemma. One that the previous regime brought on by giving the player such a lucrative extension, to begin with.

Releasing Thompson next year will save Carolina $5.74 million in resources. Should his production during the upcoming campaign impress enough, then a parting of the ways in 2023 represents a saving of $13.19 million.