Shaq Thompson

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.

Panthers Place Shaq Thompson On IR

Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson has been placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Thompson, like teammate Cam Newton, will not be on the field for the team’s final games against the Falcons and Saints. 

[RELATED: Panthers To Sit Cam Newton]

Thompson, 24, set new statistical career-highs this year with 3.5 sacks and 79 total tackles. Presently, he ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 28 ranked linebacker in the NFL.

The Panthers exercised Thompson’s 2019 option in the spring, meaning that he is under club control next year at a cost of $9.232MM. Shoulder issues have plagued him all season, so the Panthers do not want to risk his health in two games that, for all intents and purposes, are meaningless. As the New York Times playoff tree shows, Carolina would need to win out and gain the cooperation of at least five other outcomes in order to even have a chance at extending their season.

Recognizing the long odds, the Panthers also opted against activating safety Da’Norris Searcy from injured reserve.

Panthers To Exercise Shaq Thompson’s 2019 Option

The Panthers intend to exercise their 2019 fifth-year option for LB Shaq Thompson, reports Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. While Carolina hasn’t officially picked up Thompson’s option, it will do so before the May 3 deadline.

While the price tag for Thompson’s fifth-year option hasn’t yet been made public, it will be the average of the third through 25th salaries at linebacker. In 2018, that value will be $8.718MM, so Thompson is likely looking a salary north of $9MM for 2019. While Thomas Davis plans to retire following the upcoming campaign, the Panthers will still have Luke Kuechly under contract, so they’ll be heavily invested at linebacker.

Thompson, 23, has seen his playtime increase in each of his three NFL seasons. Last year, Thompson saw action on 64% of Carolina’s defensive snaps, racking up 37 tackles, two sacks, one pass defensed, and one forced fumble during that time. While he missed two games with a foot injury, Thompson graded as the league’s No. 30 linebacker among 87 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

Extra Points: Browner, Cowboys, Foster

Some assorted notes from around the NFL on this Thursday evening…

  • Brandon Browner told Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (via Twitter) that returning to the Seahawks was a “no-brainer.” The veteran also acknowledged that he had received an offer from the Redskins.
  • Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones says the team has faith in Kellen Moore as the team’s No. 2 QB, Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram tweets. Jones’ comments indicate that the team will not be looking for outside help to support starter Tony Romo.
  • Free agent running back Arian Foster says he’s getting closer to being 100% healthy, though he says that he needs some more time before he can look like his old self. “I probably need another month to get where I am, the person everyone is use to seeing,” Foster told David Nuno of ABC13. “I can definitely play, but I need another month to be where I want to be and be at that Pro Bowl level I can be at.
  • Former Duke quarterback Anthony Boone is still in the hospital recovering from hands and hip surgeries following a weekend car crash, writes Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson was operating the vehicle, and while cops said the 22-year-old had been drinking, sobriety tests proved that he was not impaired. Boone, 24, spent time with the Lions last season.