While the 2023 season will likely be one of change for the Carolina Panthers, with the team almost certain to use the top pick on a quarterback, there will also be some familiarity.
Linebacker Shaq Thompson, one of the longest-tenured players on the team, will be returning.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network tweeted on Saturday that “Shaq Thompson is expected to remain in Carolina on a reworked 2-year deal.”
Sources: #Panthers standout LB Shaq Thompson is expected to remain in Carolina on a reworked 2-year deal, as the team keeps one of its leaders. A big week for the Panthers, who traded for the top pick, then retain a top veteran defender for a ninth season. pic.twitter.com/zhNqB2D0HW
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 12, 2023
Jermaine Carter Jr., a fellow linebacker and one of Thompson’s former teammates in Carolina, liked the move.
— Jermaine Carter Jr. (@JERMA1NECARTER) March 12, 2023
Carter was not the only one to approve of Thompson returning to the Panthers.
Shaq Thompson has quietly posted four consecutive seasons with over 100 tackles and a really nice career. He had 135 total tackles last season. Good to see him staying in Carolina. https://t.co/zXaWWmVXxf
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) March 12, 2023
I feel like this is the greatest offseason weekend in Panthers history lol #KeepPounding https://t.co/cz4nr10hBP
— Panthos (@Panthos704) March 12, 2023
Great news on a Saturday night! I’m glad Shaq and Carolina were able to work something out. He’s been playing his best ball the last two seasons and is a crucial piece to Evero’s defense this season. https://t.co/esG1u1qQoU
— Jared Feinberg (@JRodNFLDraft) March 12, 2023
Big retention for Carolina, think they’ll still look to add some speed at off-ball linebacker in free agency too https://t.co/Z0VwMFMcky
— Brad Spielberger, Esq. (@PFF_Brad) March 12, 2023
Thompson was drafted by Carolina in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft and has played with the Panthers ever since. He’s one of only two players (along with long snapper, J.J. Jansen) remaining from Carolina’s 2015 team, which went 15-1 and won the NFC Championship.
While primarily a linebacker, Thompson’s versatility has allowed him to play in the secondary throughout his career, especially in nickel and dime packages. In 2021, he intercepted a career-high two passes and defended five, tying another career-high. He didn’t intercept any passes in 2022, but was in on a career-high 135 tackles and started all 17 of Carolina’s games.