Shaq Thompson

Panthers Willing To Trade LB Shaq Thompson

The last Panther left from the team’s Super Bowl 50 lineup, Shaq Thompson has started all six Carolina games this season. The Ron Rivera-era investment is the franchise’s longest-tenured starter by two seasons.

As Carolina transitions away from its Matt Rhule period, Thompson is a player that could be moved. The Panthers are willing to listen to trade offers for the eighth-year linebacker, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Thompson joins Christian McCaffrey, the team’s longest-tenured offensive starter, in being mentioned as a trade chip for the retooling team.

Brian Burns and D.J. Moore continue to generate the most interest, per Breer (on Twitter), but the team appears set against moving its top pass rusher and wide receiver. Burns remains on a rookie contract, while Moore just signed an extension in March. Thompson’s second contract came back in 2019 — a four-year, $54.16MM deal.

While Burns and Moore’s statuses stop the Panthers short of a full-on firesale, the presences of McCaffrey and Thompson on the trade block — after Robbie Anderson was dealt — make this one of the more interesting pre-deadline situations in recent years.

Like McCaffrey, Thompson could appeal as a 2022 trade piece due to a restructure agreement. To create cap space earlier this year, Carolina reduced Thompson’s base salary to $1.12MM. A team that acquired the 28-year-old linebacker would be responsible for less than $800K of his veteran-minimum wage. Thompson’s contract arrangement is somewhat similar to McCaffrey’s, only the defender’s future nonguaranteed salaries only run through 2023 rather than 2025. Thompson is due $12.36MM next year.

The Panthers trading Thompson now would cost them $11.27MM in dead money while saving barely $1MM. But the 95-game starter could produce additional draft assets that would make such a hit more palatable to a Panthers team not in position to contend this season.

Brought in to play alongside Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, Thompson joined the acclaimed duo as a rookie-year starter — albeit in a non-three-down capacity — during the team’s 15-1 2015 season. Kuechly’s unexpected retirement following the 2019 campaign thrust Thompson into an anchor role on Carolina’s defensive second level, and he has displayed decent durability both before and after that role change came to pass. The Washington alum has never missed more than three games in a season.

Pro Football Focus ranks Thompson as a top-five linebacker against the run this year. Although Thompson has 11.5 career sacks and three 100-plus-tackle seasons, he has never made a Pro Bowl. He joins Rhule pickups Cory Littleton and Frankie Luvu as the team’s primary linebackers. Considering Littleton’s one-year deal and Thompson’s high 2023 cap number, linebacker stands to be one of the Panthers’ needs next year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/20/22

With the deadline for more roster cutdowns looming, here are today’s minor moves around the league:

Carolina Panthers

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

Seattle Seahawks

Thompson’s return will be a welcomed sight in Carolina. The 28-year-old had his third-straight 100-tackle season in 2021, adding a pair of sacks and interceptions. Offseason knee surgery cost him time in training camp, but the fact that he passed his conditioning test today means that he can resume practicing with plenty of time before the start of the regular season. Returning to full health in time for Week 1, while expected, would be a crucial development for the Panthers’ defense.

Panthers Place Shaq Thompson, Jaycee Horn On PUP List

Two Panthers starting defenders will begin their training camps belatedly. The team placed Shaq Thompson and Jaycee Horn on its active/PUP list.

Thompson landed on the Panthers’ PUP because of an offseason knee surgery, David Newton of ESPN.com tweets. While Matt Rhule described this as a cleanup-type procedure, Thompson will still miss a chunk of time leading up to the season. Horn beginning on Carolina’s PUP may be more notable, due to the extensive time he has spent rehabbing a foot malady.

Horn indicated his surgically repaired foot was sore after the team’s conditioning test. This comes two months after the 2021 first-round pick was declared “full go” after a rehab effort over the winter and through the spring. Horn should be expected to return soon, but it obviously makes sense for the Panthers to exercise caution here. The South Carolina alum broke his foot in Week 3 of last season and missed 14 games.

Players who land on the active/PUP list can return to practice at any point during camp, but if they remain on the list beyond August 23, a minimum four-week absence must ensue beginning in Week 1. Both Panthers are expected to be back at practice before that deadline, though Horn’s return to work will generate interest considering his time away.

The Panthers re-signed Donte Jackson to team with Horn long-term, and the team’s early-season trade for C.J. Henderson may pay greater dividends this season than it did in 2021. This mix of young talent will take over after the team let Stephon Gilmore walk in free agency.

Panthers Restructure Shaq Thompson’s Contract

The Panthers are continuing to manufacture 2022 cap space. The team announced today that they have restructured the contract of linebacker Shaq Thompson

[Related: Panthers Restructure Taylor Moton’s Contract]

Thompson, 27, was set to count for $18.26MM against the cap for next season before the move. Instead, as ESPN’s David Newton notes, the team has created $5M in space (Twitter link). With even more financial flexibility, Carolina now has plenty of room to be aggressive in free agency.

A 2015 first round pick, Thompson has spent his entire seven-year career with the Panthers. He ranked second on the team in tackles last year with 104, adding two sacks and five pass deflections. In total, he has racked up 574 stops, 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.

Thompson is under contract for another two seasons, where he will no doubt continue to be an anchor on the team’s defense. Many of the offseason questions for the team revolve around the secondary, where corners Donte Jackson and Stephon Gilmore are both pending unrestricted free agents. Moves such as this one – along with the re-working of Moton’s deal – give the team more of a chance to keep both. Alternatively, it could mean room for one, along with a significant addition at another position.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/1/22

Here are the New Year’s Day activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: G Oli Udoh

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Bryce Hall

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Panthers’ Shaq Thompson, Brian Burns To Play Sunday

The Panthers will get a major boost on their defense when they take on the Saints tomorrow. Brian Burns and Shaq Thompson have cleared COVID-19 protocols and will play in New Orleans on Sunday, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).

The two players were among a handful of Panthers players who landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, putting their availability for Sunday in doubt. While Burns and Thompson will play, the Panthers will still likely be without a handful of notable defensive players, including linebacker Haason Reddick.

Burns, a 2019 first-round pick, earned his first Pro Bowl nod this season, boosting his eventual fifth-year option value from around $11.5MM to $16.6MM (per OverTheCap.com). In 15 starts, Burns has collected nine sacks, two forced fumbles, 17 QB hits, and 29 tackles. The edge rusher has also earned a top-10 pass rush grade from Pro Football Focus.

Thompson, a former first-round pick, has spent his entire career with the Panthers, including 2019 and 2020 campaigns where he combined for 223 tackles. He’s had another productive season in 2021, collecting 91 tackles, two sacks, and two interceptions. The 27-year-old still has two-plus years remaining on the four-year, $54MM extension he inked with Carolina in 2019.

Panthers LB Shaq Thompson To Miss Time

Shaq Thompson is going to miss some time. The Panthers linebacker is set to sit out the next few games while he recovers from a foot injury, reports Joe Person of The Athletic (via Twitter). Fortunately, it sounds like Thompson might avoid a stint on the IR. According to Person, Thompson is considered more week-to-week (vs. a definitive three-week-plus absence).

Thompson suffered the injury during yesterday’s loss to the Cowboys. The linebacker exited the game, but he did manage to return and finish the contest.

The former first-round pick has spent his entire career with the Panthers, including 2019 and 2020 campaigns where he combined for 223 tackles. He was off to a hot start in 2021, collecting a team-leading 25 tackles to go along with one sack and one interception.

The Panthers have already started preparing for the 27-year-old’s absence. The team promoted Kamal Martin from the practice squad earlier today. The 23-year-old started six of his 10 games for Green Bay in 2020, collecting 24 tackles and one sack.

Latest On Panthers’ COVID-19 Situation

Dec. 11: Good news for Carolina, as Samuel, Thompson, and Brown have all been activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list and were back at practice today. They will all be available for the club’s tilt with the Broncos on Sunday.

Dec. 8: The Panthers are now a team to monitor regarding COVID-19. They placed eight players on their reserve/COVID-19 list this week, after two tested positive, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Carolina moved several big names — D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, Shaq Thompson, Derrick Brown and Greg Little — along with punter Michael Palardy, defensive tackle Zach Kerr and wide receiver Ishmael Hyman to their coronavirus list this week. At least two of these players will miss Sunday’s game against the Broncos, and the rest of the lot will at least miss some practice time this week. It is not yet certain which Panthers tested positive.

While this is certainly an issue, the Panthers do not appear to have the makings of an outbreak. They reported no new positive COVID-19 tests Tuesday, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). The Panthers closed their facility after the positive tests but are scheduled to reopen it Wednesday.

Carolina will host Denver on Sunday. The Broncos saw their bye rescheduled at the 11th hour earlier this season, when the Patriots encountered positive tests. With no teams having more byes, after the Panthers and Buccaneers concluded theirs in Week 13, the NFL’s options would be limited. However, as the recent Ravens outbreak showed, the league will pull out all the stops to ensure games are now played in their scheduled week.

Panthers Sign LB Shaq Thompson To Four-Year Extension

The Panthers announced today that they’ve signed linebacker Shaq Thompson to a four-year extension. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the deal is worth $54.2MM, with a maximum value of $57MM. There’s $28MM guaranteed and a $16MM signing bonus. The extension will keep Thompson in a Panthers uniform through the 2023 season.

“Shaq is our type of person and our type of player,” said general manager Marty Hurney. “He’s proven that he can play linebacker at a very high level, and he’s got all the traits you want. He’s smart, he’s physical, he can run and he’s very versatile. He fits the blueprint for what we want at the position.”

A 2015 first-round pick out of Washington, Thompson has spent his entire five-year career with the Panthers. The organization picked up his fifth-year option back in 2018, and the linebacker has rewarded them with perhaps his best season in the NFL. In 12 games this year, the 25-year-old has compiled 93 tackles, three sacks, and three passes defended. Thompson has also garnered glowing reviews from the coaching staff, with the organization appreciating his ability to fill in for longtime Panther Thomas Davis.

The $57MM maximum value would place Thompson in the top-five among linebackers, tied with Myles Jack and Deion Jones. Meanwhile, the $28MM in guaranteed money is the third-highest mark at the position behind C.J. Mosley and Devin White.

Shaq Thompson Wants To Stay With Panthers

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.