4 Panthers players who could be traded before the 2021 deadline

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Marquis Haynes
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Marquis Haynes /
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(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers OLB

Shaq Thompson is playing outstanding ball to start the 2021 season. But his stock might never be higher and the Carolina Panthers have to consider all factors as part of their long-term planning.

It’s no secret that the former Washington star is due an astronomical pay increase in 2022. Thompson’s cap number will rise to $18.26 million, according to Over the Cap, which is a ton of cash to be paying an outside linebacker when so many other talented young players need extending sooner rather than later.

This would cause some problems for the Panthers. Even though Thompson’s production over the first four games has been nothing short of outstanding.

Trading the 2015 first-round pick would come with a dead-cap figure of $6.23 million and represent a saving of $1.81 million. But it would give Carolina some additional breathing space to tie down the likes of Donte Jackson, D.J. Moore, Haason Reddick, and Brian Burns.

If the Panthers decide to wait until after the 2021 season to move Thompson in some capacity, the dead-cap number would be $12.47 million pre-June 1 and a saving of $5.79 million.

After June 1, the cost would be $6.23 million with $12.02 million in savings.

It’s a precarious situation. One that the Panthers must handle with care in the not-too-distant future. Thompson is also dealing with an injury, which could see the linebacker miss time in the coming weeks.