Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers LB
- 2023 salary-cap number: $24.46 million
Shaq Thompson‘s influence within the Carolina Panthers cannot be understated. His exceptional leadership not only smoothed Steve Wilks’ transition to the interim head coaching role but also played a significant role in getting each member of the locker room to sing from the same hymn sheet at a time when all hope seemed lost.
Couple this with another solid year in terms of on-field production, and retaining Thompson is something the Panthers will consider. However, one cannot overlook the financial implications if they stand pat with the former first-round selection.
Thompson is among Carolina’s top earners next season after contract restructures. The one-time Washington star’s cap number stands at $24.46 million, which is an eye-watering figure for any linebacker in today’s NFL.
This puts the Panthers in a real predicament. Trading or cutting Thompson comes with more than $13 million in savings, even if it loses an instrumental figure during yet another period of transition.
There is no doubt Thompson’s current cap figure makes him overpaid. But if the Panthers want to keep him around, then a short-term extension enables them to move some of this money into future years for financial flexibility.