NFL Rumors: Carolina Panthers LB Thompson Could Be Cap Casualty

The Carolina Panthers narrowly missed the playoffs in 2022 due to the collective mediocrity of the NFC South, but they'll have a lot of work to do if they intend to become a true contender in 2023. According to the Athletic's Joe Person, that could include parting way with linebacker Shaq Thompson.

The Panthers are approximately $9 million over the 2023 salary cap per, so they'll need to either restructure some contracts or make some hard decisions in the coming weeks. Veteran linebacker Shaq Thompson is currently on the books for a massive $24.5 million cap number in the last year of his contract, but the team could save a little over $13 million in cap space by releasing him.

Thompson has appeared in 117 games for the Panthers and is still only 28 years old, so he's not completely expendable. He even earned a solid 72.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus just last year. However, the Panthers are entering a new era under a new regime; freshly hired head coach Frank Reich may not have much loyalty to the previous regime or its veteran players. 

In either case, Thompson is unlikely to return at his current cap number. Whether that means he's cut outright or extended at a team-friendly deal will come down to what the new heads of the organization think of him.

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