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Carolina Panthers reach four-year extension with LB Shaq Thompson

Shaq Thompson, Panthers

The Carolina Panthers won’t let linebacker Shaq Thompson reach free agency. On Saturday, the team announced they have reached a four-year extension with Thompson. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the deal is worth $54.2 million, with a max value of $57 million. There is a $16 million signing bonus and $28 million guaranteed.

Shaq is our type of person and our type of player,” general manager Marty Hurney said on the deal, via the team’s official website. “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.”

The deal will keep Thompson under contract through the 2023 season.

A first-round pick out of Washington in 2015, Thompson was set to be a free agent in 2020, as he’s playing on a fifth-year option. With the 25-year-old having a career year, the Panthers decided to lock him up before his value inevitably rises on the open market.

Through 12 games, Thompson has tallied his career-high in combined tackles with 93. He also has nine tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, and three pass deflections on the season. He has filled into a bigger role with the departure of former starting linebacker Thomas Davis Sr.

At 25 years old, Thompson is far from his prime. The Panthers figure the same. Though a pricey extension, it’s well worth it for a player that has thrived in their defense, year-by-year, since coming onto the team in 2015.