In the conclusion of the 2019 season, linebacker Shaq Thompson is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
If Thompson gets his way, but he will be staying stuck in Carolina.
“That is a place I’ve been for five decades,” Thompson told the Charlotte Observer’s Brendan Marks. “I do not want to know any other place.”
With Carolina having picked up his fifth-year option, the 2015 NFL Draft’s 25th pick is set to make $9.23 million in 2019.
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To say it will be a season for Thompson is a understatement.
As aforementioned, he will be playing in the final year of his contract. In addition, he’ll be coming back by a season-ending trip to injured reserve with a shoulder injury and he will be transitioning, in addition to the remainder of the shield, from a 4-3 plot to a 3-4 in the wake of Thomas Davis’ departure.
Together with Davis gone, Thompson should be called upon for much more reps and more opportunity to demonstrate his range and versatility.
The new strategy appears to be coming together well.
“We’re used to 4-3, but we are getting adjusted to the 3-4,” he explained. “I like it. It’s just knowing where to line up and the way things fit just a little bit differently with front and all that.”
In 2018, Thompson’s 79 tackles in 11 starts (14 games) tied Davis for second on the Panthers and his 3.5 sacks were third on the team. He has been called on to play in nickel packages and at safety, so his flexibility has come to the forefront.
He’s improved as Thompson’s role using the Panthers has increased.
Thus, as the 2019 kickoff dawns, everything appears to be in place for Thompson to have an impressive season and convince Carolina to bring him back. It is just up to him to seize a brand new contract — and the day.

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