Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers LB
- $24.46 million cap number in 2023
- $13.16 million savings (cut/trade)
- $11.3 million dead money
Out of the Carolina Panthers’ top three cap hits, Shaq Thompson is the only player that could be a cap casualty. Cutting the linebacker incurs $11.3 million in dead money but saves the Carolina Panthers $13.16 million, putting them back into positive cap space.
The problem with making this move is obvious considering what Thompson brings to the defense at this point in his career. He is also one of the team’s primary leaders within the locker room, which further complicates matters.
The veteran will be difficult to replace if Carolina decides to part ways. But at this point in his career, it makes a level of sense.
Thompson will be entering his eighth season and is nearing the end of his prime. Something that could mean an early departure if the Panthers find the necessary reinforcements in free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft.
Whether or not Carolina opts to rework Thompson’s deal or simply part ways with the player will be one of the most interesting parts of the off-season. The former first-round pick has 709 career tackles, 12 sacks, three interceptions, and countless key moments that have kept Carolina in games.
If it weren’t for the cap situation, Thompson wouldn’t be a consideration when it comes to possible off-season cuts. But paying a replaceable position is difficult.