Charlotte N.C. — Coming off a huge road win on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, the Carolina Panthers were able to secure two of their most valuable members on defense for 5 years on Tuesday before practice. First they were able to strike a deal with one of the top corners in the league by inking Bryon Jones to a 5 year 16.8 million dollar deal, which was well below what the front office anticipated. Jones might not have the gaudy numbers you look for, but he has been assigned to the number one WR every week and is coming off a great performance against the Rams by holding Speedster Brandin Cooks to zero catches and two drops. It’s hard to generate stats when teams are scared to throw it your way at times. Cooks who had his worst game of the year, only had two targets the entire game, and was practically invisible until the final portion of the game.
Next they were able to retain Star Linebacker Shaq Thompson, also inking him to a 5 year 20.9 million dollar deal. He also played a huge role in the road victory as well, he had two interceptions and was able to return one of them for his first touchdown on the season. With him and Luke Kuechly locked in together for at least 3 more years, they should be one of the top linebacker duos in the league for sure. Thompson is third on the team in tackles and leads the defense in interceptions and touchdowns.
The Panthers were able to keep two of their young stars on defense, but this is only the beginning, with other key contributors on final year contracts the front office will have some tough decisions in the coming months on who stays and who goes. So far, the defense that they worked hard to put together this off season has been great, they’re a top 10 team in points allowed and are playing way better than their record indicates and should only be able to build on the confidence by shutting down one of the top offenses in the league last week. Look for them to prioritize resigning James Bradberry and Damarious Randall.