6 moves that can save the Panthers $50 million against their 2023 cap

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) Samir Suleiman
(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) Samir Suleiman /
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Carolina Panthers
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Carolina Panthers could cut/trade Shaq Thompson

  • Cap savings: $13.16 million

Shaq Thompson‘s future with the Carolina Panthers is a source of heated debate among fans right now. The linebacker remains influential on and off the field, but the NFL is a business and there are significant financial factors for those in power to consider.

This has everything to do with Thompson’s salary cap hit on the last year of his deal. The former first-round pick’s number currently stands at $24.46 million, which stems from a series of contract restructures to reach this point.

Thompson put up career numbers in tackles last season and made a lasting impact as the team’s most established leader. Had Steve Wilks gotten the permanent head coaching job things might be different, but the savings involved with a trade or early release cannot be ignored.

Cutting Thompson or shifting him to another team comes with $13.16 million to spend elsewhere. The dead cap figure is more than $12 million, but it paints a realistic picture all the same.

The Washington product would leave a gaping hole on the defensive second level and within the locker room. But the Panthers have a bevy of high-end selections to draft his potential successor should the opportunity arise.

This is one of the more intriguing situations within the Panthers this off-season. Something that plenty of teams around the league will also be watching with interest.