4 Carolina Panthers players who could be gone after the 2024 season

These Carolina Panthers might not be around after the 2024 season.
Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA
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Shaq Thompson - Carolina Panthers LB

Shaq Thompson looks healthy and ready to make a lasting contribution once again. The veteran linebacker endured some rough luck on the injury front last season when a broken fibula ended his campaign after just two games. Many wondered if the Carolina Panthers would seek alternatives this offseason, but a compromise was reached to ensure he stuck around.

Thompson took a pay cut for the second straight year. This sort of loyalty is in keeping with the player's high character. He's always putting the team first and is willing to do whatever it takes to help the Panthers get back to respectability.

The former first-round selection will play an important role in 2024. Thompson looks set to form a middle linebacker partnership with free-agent signing Josey Jewell within Ejiro Evero's 3-4 base scheme. Having an experienced, inspirational leader manning the defensive second level should provide others with a sense of comfort and improved communication provided there are no more health issues.

What comes after this season is undecided where Thompson is concerned. The team's second longest-serving player is entering the final year of his deal, counting just $3.19 million against Carolina's salary cap. Those in power also spent a third-round selection on Trevin Wallace, who could be an heir apparent to the linebacker throne with some extra refinement.

Keeping Thompson around would be wise if he shows no signs of slowing down next season. He's the undisputed leader of the locker room and commands respect from his peers. However, any significant regression might see Dan Morgan go in a different direction.

That might sound harsh considering the sacrifices Thompson's made for the Panthers. At the same time, Morgan is working with a business-first model without emotional attachment to anybody.

If he feels like it's the right thing to do, the front-office leader displayed the conviction to act accordingly throughout his first offseason at the helm.