Longtime Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis says Carolina has informed him they intend to move in a “different direction” next season, meaning the free agent-to-be won’t be playing in Carolina in 2019 (Twitter link).
Davis, 35, was a Panthers first-round pick in 2005 and just completed his 14th year with the club. Although he’s vacillated on the subject before, Davis has indicated he’d like to continue his career beyond the 2018 campaign. Whether he’ll still want to do that somewhere other than Carolina is unclear, but he should certainly have a market.
Davis only played in 12 games last year due to a four-game performance-enhancing drug suspension, but he graded as the league’s 19th-best linebacker, per Pro Football Focus. He doesn’t seem to be slowing down, as he played in 85% of the Panthers’ defensive snaps a season ago. With Davis gone, Shaq Thompson — who will be playing on his fifth-year option — will become a full-time player (he saw about 60% of Carolina’s snaps last year).
A 2017 extension that tacked on an additional year to Davis’ contract will run out in March. Davis will join a group of free agent off–ball linebackers that includes Anthony Barr, C.J. Mosley, Jordan Hicks, and Cory Littleton, among others.
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