Examining the 5 biggest financial commitments on the Carolina Panthers in 2023

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4. Shaq Thompson - Carolina Panthers LB

  • $14.06 million in 2023

Due to a certain franchise great in his same position that retired far earlier than expected, Shaq Thompson is often underrated. He is an important part of this defense and was important to keep on the roster even for a tough cap hit that is the second-highest active on the Carolina Panthers.

The fact that Thompson is Carolina's second-highest active hit speaks to the cheap deals the team has added and the extreme flexibility they still have heading into the 2023 season. This also included reaching a compromise with the former first-round pick that added another year to his deal but came with no additional cash attached.

Thompson was Carolina's leading tackler with 135 including eight tackles for loss last season. Though the secondary concerns are again worth noting, with the one-time Washington stud and a reinforced defensive line, there are a lot of things to like about this Panthers' defense under Ejiro Evero that one of the team's longest-serving players is set to lead.

The player has two years remaining on his deal after the contract tweaks this spring. His projected $6 million cap hit in 2024 could be a bargain.

This is a team that has spent very wisely throughout the off-season and put themselves in a position to surprise. For that to be accomplished, they'll need Thompson firing on the field and inspiring off it.