5 Panthers players who could be shocking cuts under new regime in 2023

(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) Laviska Shenault Jr.
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) Laviska Shenault Jr. /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers LB

  • 2023 cap saving – $13.18 million
  • 2022 season stats (through Week 17): 128 total tackles (career-high), 8 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery.

One of the best players on the team and the only member from the Super Bowl 50 run, linebacker Shaq Thompson could be released as one of the Carolina Panthers’ biggest earners in 2023. Not exactly ideal, but the finances involved indicate this scenario could be a foregone conclusion.

It may come as a shock with Thompson seemingly rejuvenating his career since switching his jersey number to No. 7. But the salary cap regarding the former first-round pick’s early departure would be pivotal for the team.

Even though he is the leader of the defense and one of the most beloved players on the team, cutting the one-time Washington Huskies star saves the team over $13 million. This could be major for a young team looking to make a splash in free agency.

The Panthers currently sit at just over $1 million in available cap space for 2023, ranking No. 23 in the league. They do have an abundance of draft picks to utilize, but any new head coach will also want the financial wiggle room to bring in players to fit his scheme in pursuit of hitting the ground running.

This would be a blow to an already depleted second level. But there’s no way Thompson can stick around with his cap hit at more than $24 million.