5 Carolina Panthers players who could be cut ahead of time in 2023

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers LB

As stated previously, the Carolina Panthers are in the midst of more financial troubles. According to Spotrac, they are currently $8.3 million over the cap in 2023, which is thanks in no small part to the $28 million in dead-cap stemming from the Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson trades.

This almost guarantees some difficult decisions are upcoming. Not only regarding which players to keep around but also the status of established figures within the locker room.

One name, in particular, is Shaq Thompson. The outside linebacker is one of the team’s longest-serving players and a supreme leader within the locker room, with his recent performances on the field also coming in for significant praise after an indifferent start.

However, everything isn’t always that simple. Thompson is due a whopping $24.46 million in the final year of his deal, which is a huge sum considering his ability no matter which way one looks at it.

Thompson’s influence cannot be understated on or off the gridiron. But it’s hard to deny that the $13.18 million in cap savings involved with his early release couldn’t be better spent elsewhere.

The former first-round pick out of Washington is putting together another nice campaign. However, when looking at all the contracts Carolina has, this is undoubtedly one that provides the most financial flexibility.