Shaq Thompson

Shaq Thompson


Panthers LB Shaq Thompson prepares for the snap.

The Baltimore Ravens have one of the top defenses in the NFL heading into the 2024 season and that is with a tumultuous offseason that cost them some key starters. One of the losses was LB Patrick Queen and one writer thinks a Carolina Panthers starter could be a potential replacement.

Last Word on Sports’ David Latham believes that Panthers LB Shaq Thompson could be traded once the Panthers drop out of postseason contention and listed the Ravens as one of his “Best Fits.”

Latham wrote, “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.”

Shaq Thompson
Trevin Wallace

Getting some work in.

Queen left for division rival the Pittsburgh Steelers after having one of the best seasons of his career next to fellow LB Roquan Smith. Smith is considered to be one of the best linebackers in the NFL and has become a fan favorite since his arrival in 2022.

Smith needs a running mate for the upcoming season and according to Latham, “Fortifying the front seven should be a top priority for the team if they want to slow the elite passing attacks in the AFC.”

The Ravens fancy themselves Super Bowl contenders for the upcoming season and if they want to go farther than the AFC championship game, they need to be ready to take down the top offenses.

“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,” Latham advised.

Shaq Thompson Is a Free Agent After 2024 Season

Thompson is entering his 10th season after being drafted in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft. Remarkably he still will only be 30 years old in the upcoming season and has plenty of tread left on the tires.

Thompson has played all 9 seasons with the Panthers, so Carolina is all the linebacker knows, but he is entering the final year of his contract, which he restructured to 1-year, $3.01 million.

The LB is coming off a season where he missed weeks 3-18 due to a fractured ankle. Thompson was only able to play 2 games in 2023 (a career low).

Prior to 2023, Thompson had played in a minimum of 14 games throughout his career. His career began to take off in 2019 as it was the first year he hit over 100 combined tackles (109).

He had four straight seasons of 100 combined tackles, with a career high of 135, before the injury lost 2023.

Over his 9-year career he has 717 combined tackles, 12.0 sacks, 52 tackles for loss and 31 QB hits. Thompson would also get the benefit of suiting up next to the All-Pro Smith who took Queen’s game to the next level.

Ravens May Prefer to Spend Resources Elsewhere

The Ravens are in this position because they declined to pick up Queen’s option prior to the 2023 season and did not have the cap space to give him the contract he was seeking.

With Thompson entering the last year of his contract, if the Ravens were to trade for the LB, they would be in a similar position next season. They already have $100 million invest in Smith, so it is unlikely they pay Thompson after not paying Queen.

Latham wrote, “LB2 isn’t the most important position in today’s day and age, but Shaq Thompson could be an ideal fit in a trade.” Currently, LB Trenton Simpson has the inside track for the position next to Smith and could prove the need moot if he continues to breakout.

Simpson showed explosive talent in his Week 17 showcase but will need to maintain the level for the whole season if he plans to help the Ravens’ defense to the next level.

If Simpson shows he is not ready early in the season and the Panthers fall out of contention, then general manager Eric DeCosta may make a call to maximize this team’s window.

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