4 Panthers players who could earn massive contract extensions in 2023

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

. OLB. Carolina Panthers. SHAQ THOMPSON. 3. player. 87

Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers OLB

Shaq Thompson‘s contract has been a big talking point among fans over the last few years. Perhaps the previous regime overpaid the outside linebacker at the time, but one of the last remaining faces from the 2015 Super Bowl run has become a driving force behind Matt Rhule’s desire for a culture shift ahead of the new season.

Thompson has been a keen ally of Rhule’s this spring, spending time away from the facility discussing the best possible avenues to take the franchise forward. The Carolina Panthers are looking to become more player-driven and the former first-round pick was one of the more vocal in a mini-coaching capacity from the sidelines during the team’s recent mandatory minicamp to get this message across in no uncertain terms.

This is good news for Thompson, who went through his own adjustment without the likes of Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis alongside him at the second level. He was playing some of his best football in 2021 before tailing off down the stretch, so something similar might see a new deal come his way next spring.

A new contract would make sense on a number of fronts. Thompson is set to count a whopping $24.71 million against Carolina’s cap in 2023, so getting something long-term agreed with one of their best defenders could also save them some much-needed cash in the short term.

Thompson won’t be worrying about this too much. What’s important for the Washington product and the Panthers is finally putting together the sort of consistency that makes them a force to be reckoned with.