4 Carolina Panthers players fighting for roster spots in 2022 finale

(Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports) Raheem Blackshear
(Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports) Raheem Blackshear /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Cory Littleton /

Cory Littleton – Carolina Panthers LB

The Carolina Panthers could be forced into big changes across the second level this offseason. Shaq Thompson’s contract needs to be reduced, reworked, or removed to provide financial flexibility, Damien Wilson is a prime cut candidate, and Cory Littleton‘s status is unclear with his contract set to expire before free agency.

Littleton came into the organization on the back of a disappointing campaign with the Las Vegas Raiders. Expectations were limited as a result, but the former Pro Bowler has performed well on a rotational basis and could get an extension with another strong showing at the New Orleans Saints.

Reuniting with his former college teammate Thompson no doubt smoothed Littleton’s transition. His ability in coverage is something else that’s stood out, which has far exceeded anything Wilson’s brought to the table in 2022.

Carolina isn’t blessed with tremendous linebacking depth. Frankie Luvu is an emerging star and Brandon Smith could certainly evolve into a key contributor, but keeping Littleton around in 2023 is a real possibility providing the financial aspect works for all parties.

Littleton can cement his claims for a prolonged stay by showing out versus the Saints. But this is also an area of the field which could get a significant makeover that might leave him on the outside looking in.