4 established alphas on the Carolina Panthers roster in 2024

The Carolina Panthers need their established alphas to produce in 2024.
Taylor Moton
Taylor Moton / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Shaq Thompson - Carolina Panthers LB

There have been very few constants across the Carolina Panthers in recent years. A plethora of head coaches and new front-office leaders came with heightened personnel turnover on the playing side. This only added to the disenchantment between the franchise and its long-suffering fanbase.

Shaq Thompson is one of the exceptions. The veteran linebacker has been around for almost a decade and is one of two players left from Carolina's incredible 15-1 campaign in 2015 en route to a Super Bowl appearance. This sort of continuity is something the Panthers can lean on during the 2024 season.

Thompson rose quickly into a prominent leadership position. Thomas Davis' departure and Luke Kuechly's bombshell retirement meant the former first-round selection had to step up. It hasn't been perfect by any stretch overall, but the veteran deserves credit for leading from the front and providing younger teammates with a strong support system.

It came as no surprise to see the Panthers struggle without Thompson last season. His campaign was cruelly cut short after just two games with a broken fibula. Many wondered if this would be the last we'd seen of the Washington product in a Panthers' uniform. Some common ground was reached contractually to ensure he's part of Dave Canales' plans in 2024.

This is a major positive, especially considering the Panthers lost Frankie Luvu and Brian Burns this offseason. Thompson must be the on-field organizer and communicator. He must show no ill effects from the serious injury complication suffered in 2023. He must keep everyone on an even keel through the good times and bad.

That's a lot to ask, but it's nothing Thompson isn't more than capable of. There's also plenty of motivation for the second-level force entering a contract year.

Thompson's already declared his intent to spend his entire career with the Panthers. Maintaining his alpha status and consistent production will go a long way toward an extension next spring.