Carolina Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson saw the fifth year on his rookie contract being picked up recently by the team, meaning he can become an unrestricted free agent following the 2019 NFL season. When that happens, however, don’t expect Thompson to take many free agency meetings.
Thomson recently discussed his future with Charlotte Observer’s Brendan Marks, saying that he hopes he will stay with Panthers for years to come.
“This is a place I’ve been for five years,” – said Thomson. “I don’t want to know any other place.”
Whether that happens or not, entirely depends on Thomson’s production and ability to stay healthy in 2019. The 25-year-old is coming off a solid season, in which he totaled 3.5 sacks and 79 tackles, but was limited to only 11 games due to lingering shoulder issues. This is one of the reasons Carolina didn’t offer him an extension yet and instead accepted his $9.23 million option.
Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera recently spoke about Thompson and cornerback James Bradberry’s prospects of staying with the team, saying that the organization would like to keep them in Carolina.
“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,” – said Rivera. “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.”
Since being drafted by Panthers 25th overall in 2014 NBA Draft, Shaq Thompson played a total of 56 games (47 starts) in the league. His career stats include 246 tackles, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception.