Report: Panthers to pick up LB Shaq Thompson’s fifth-year option
The Carolina Panthers are reportedly planning to pick up linebacker Shaq Thompson’s fifth-year option for the 2019 season, per the Charlotte Observer’s Joseph Person. The move hasn’t been made official just yet, but the Panthers will likely do so before the deadline on May 3.
Person notes that the fifth-year value for linebackers in the 11-32 draft slots last year was $8.7 million. That means Thompson, who was drafted 25th back in 2015, could potentially see a 2019 salary of over $9 million.
The Panthers’ decision to pick up Thompson’s option shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The 23-year-old has been a consistent part of the Panthers’ defense ever since they drafted him in the first round three years ago. He’s started 36 of the 42 games he’s played in his first three years in the league while playing some different roles within the Carolina defense.
Thompson started all 14 games he played last season and missed two games due to a foot injury. He recorded 57 total tackles as well as a career-high two sacks.
Thompson figures to see a more significant role on the Panthers defense this season and moving forward with veteran Thomas Davis set to retire at the end of the year. Linebacker has been one of Carolina’s big strengths over the last few years with Thomas and fellow All-Pro Luke Kuechly the big reasons for their success.
The Panthers will surely be hoping Thompson can step up to the plate with Davis’ looming exit and keep that position group at a high level in the coming years.