Shaq Thompson puts Carolina Panthers first with contract compromise

Shaq Thompson
Shaq Thompson / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Shaq Thompson's contract details have finally been revealed, which put the Carolina Panthers first as the team looks for improvements in 2023.

Although Shaq Thompson's restructured contract extension was announced last week, details of the numbers were hard to come by. However, the recent revelations by Over the Cap on the deal make this a tremendous bit of business by the Carolina Panthers all things considered. 

Thompson wanted to stay and influential figures within the organization wanted to work something out. But there was a real chance the former first-round selection would be shown the door unless his $24.46 million salary-cap hit came down in some capacity. 

Thankfully, some common ground was reached. Thompson agreed to keep a similar figure overall for one more season, allowing the Panthers to void years onto his contract which also included prorated bonuses that don't count against the cap. 

Shaq Thompson put the Carolina Panthers first with a reworked deal

Per Over the Cap, here are the numbers in terms of cap hit for Thompson next season and beyond:

  • 2023: $14.06 million
  • 2024: $6.66 million

Voided years:

  • 2025: $3.18 million
  • 2026: $1.06 million (prorated bonus)
  • 2027: $1.06 million (prorated bonus)

This puts the Panthers' available cap space at $23.53 million. Although it does not include the recent free-agent signings of DeShawn Williams and Justin McCray.

Carolina can make further moves in free agency, sign their draft class, and still have a little left over for in-season moves. Considering their financial plight before the offseason began, this is a fantastic spot to be in - one that Scott Fitterer and Samie Suleiman deserve endless credit for accomplishing. 

Thompson put the Panthers first before his own gain. It would have been easy for the Washington product to hold firm and make things difficult, but his love for the franchise overcame any unnecessary stumbling blocks during negotiations. 

This is great news for the Panthers. They are implementing a creative 3-4 base structure under defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, so Thompson's experience, leadership, and communication at the second level will be a major asset during an important transition. 

The contract details also say a lot about Walking away via release or trade after lobbying so heavily for Steve Wilks to become head coach was a realistic possibility, but the linebacker can see something special is developing and wants to do everything he can to assist both on and off the field. 

As one of the last remaining members of Carolina's memorable run to the Super Bowl in 2015, keeping this continuity can only mean good things moving forward. Thompson is still playing at a high level and performed well as an interior presence last season, which is a role he'll assume again next time around. 

It's been a staggering offseason of change. The positivity surrounding Carolina under this new and improved regime is night and day from previous seasons, and Thompson's sacrifice only adheres him more to the team's fanbase ahead of a preparation period where he'll be needed more than ever. 

This is a win-win for all parties. It gives the Panthers financial flexibility and keeps Thompson on a far friendlier deal, while the player gets to stay on the team that took a chance on his talent at No. 25 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. 

It's also another sign that business is being handled correctly by those in power at long last. And what a refreshing change of pace that is. 

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