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Chargers, Ravens Could Land Panthers Star In Potential Trade

Shaq Thompson is in the final year of his contract, and recent comments indicate the Panthers could trade him if the season goes south.
Shaq Thompson Trade

Carolina Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson is not shying away that he could be a trade target in the upcoming 2024 season. A first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Washington product spent his entire career in Carolina but almost left the team during the offseason before restructuring his existing contract. Now entering the final year of his deal, Thompson knows he could cash in either through free agency or in the later half of the season with a new team.

Speaking with reporters, the linebacker acknowledged his love of the Panthers while pointing out that football is a business at the end of the day.

“I love it here. I been here for nine, going on 10 years. I mean, this is all I know. I would love to retire here, but that’s in my fate. And when I say that – I control what I control, I control myself on that field….This is my last year, so I’m playing for the Panthers and I’m playing for 31 other teams.”

Shaq Thompson Knows Trade, Free Agency Could Take Him From Panthers

Shaq Thompson mostly spoke about leaving the Panthers in free agency, but a trade is always possible for a team in Carolina’s position. Thompson will start in 2024 and the Panthers will keep him around as long as the team stands a shot at the postseason. Unfortunately for the Panthers, that probably won’t be too long, as they’re still one of the least talented teams in football despite adding a good amount of talent during free agency and the NFL Draft.

Assuming the Panthers are out of the playoff picture by the trade deadline, they’ll have to consider moving Shaq Thompson. While he is a reliable player on the defense, he’ll be 31 in 2025. Carolina is rebuilding and Thompson’s age means he’ll probably slow down long before the Panthers are ready to compete. With this in mind, the team could trade him to contending teams like the Ravens or Chargers.

Best Fits

The Baltimore Ravens still have one of the best rosters in the game, but they lost several talented players in free agency. Baltimore didn’t have the resources to adequately replace every departed starter, which means the team is still looking for an adequate replacement for linebacker Patrick Queen. LB2 isn’t the most important position in today’s day and age, but Shaq Thompson could be an ideal fit in a trade.

Roquan Smith is one of the best linebackers in the game and Baltimore’s defense will be strong as long as he’s on the field. However, fortifying the front seven should be a top priority for the team if they want to slow the elite passing attacks in the AFC. Shaq Thompson might not singlehandedly put this team in the Super Bowl, but a trade would improve the talent of the overall unit and could provide that final push needed to take down Kansas City in January.

The Chargers, meanwhile, should be more competitive with a competent head coach in Jim Harbaugh. While it’s anyone’s guess as to who will catch the ball, the rest of the team is talented enough to fight for a Wild Card spot. Harbaugh is an old-school coach who wants to win games with defense, and adding a linebacker like Shaq Thompson via trade is a great way to get that job done. Harbaugh’s 49ers defense ran through the elite linebacker duo of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman and Thompson could help replicate a poor mans’ version of that scheme.

Main Photo: Jim Dedmon – USA Today Sports


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