3 concerning Carolina Panthers rumors heading into 2023 free agency

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /
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What are some concerning rumors surrounding the Carolina Panthers ahead of what’s sure to be a fascinating free-agency period in 2023?

Free agency is almost upon us and speculation is growing with every passing day. Teams around the league and currently forming their roster plans and moving money around for new acquisitions before what is widely regarded as one of the more intriguing aspects of the often turbulent NFL offseason.

The Carolina Panthers are officially under the salary cap after restructuring Taylor Moton’s contract. D.J. Moore should be next, which provides an extra $12.72 million that those in power can spend elsewhere.

After such an encouraging offseason thanks to Frank Reich’s arrival and his ability to bring exceptional coaches to the organization behind David Tepper’s wallet, the Panthers cannot afford a lackluster approach to player recruitment in the coming weeks. Therefore, expect general manager Scott Fitterer to be aggressive during his first year with the final say on roster moves.

With that being said, here are three concerning Panthers rumors to emerge leading up to free agency in 2023.

Rumor No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Carolina Panthers and Shaq Thompson too far apart?

Things will come to a head shortly for Shaq Thompson and the Carolina Panthers. The veteran linebacker is set to count $24.46 million against the cap in 2023, which is unfeasible even though he’s still performing at a high level.

If the Panthers cannot get this number down, Thompson will be traded or released. And David Newton of ESPN believes the two sides might be too far apart for any compromise.

"“Still a busy week for Panthers GM Scott Fitterer. He said at the Combine he wants to talk with LB Shaq Thompson early this week about his future. Because of Thompson’s cap number his deal will have to be redone significantly or he’ll be released. Gap may be too far to close.”"

Thompson’s departure would level a gaping hole at the defensive second level and within the locker room. But it does give the Panthers just over $13 million extra to utilize in free agency.