Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson is scheduled to reach free agency after the 2019 season. But, if he has his way, he’ll stay in Carolina for years to come.
“Yeah, this is a place I’ve been for five years,” Thompson said (via Brendan Marks of The Observer). “I don’t want to know any other place.”
Thompson, 25, set new statistical career-highs this year with 3.5 sacks and 79 total tackles. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury ended his season in December, preventing him from turning in the first full 16-game slate of his career.
So far, Thompson has appeared in 14 games in each of his four NFL seasons, with 2018 marking his best showing yet. At the time of his injury, he ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 28 ranked linebacker in the NFL.
It’s not clear if an extension is on the horizon for Thompson, though coach Ron Rivera has expressed a desire to keep him in the fold.
“Those are young guys that you do most certainly want to have around because they are going to impact your team for years to come,” Rivera said of Thompson and cornerback James Bradberry. “They’re both, I think, at the point where they’re ready to take the next step, which is very important in our development as a football team.”
This year, with Thomas Davis out of the picture, Thompson has an opportunity to cement his value.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.