Carolina Panthers: Predicting Trai Turner’s Contract Extension

Carolina Panthers: Predicting Trai Turner’s Contract Extension: The news by Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person last week that the Carolina Panthers have begun preliminary talks with guard Trai Turner should not come as a surprise. Turner stepped in as a starter almost immediately after the Panther selected him in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

A strong case could be made that he has been the Panthers’ most consistent offensive linemen over that time. This is why it would make complete sense for GM Dave Gettleman to begin discussing a contract extension.

However, this new deal will be a substantial one.

The contracts offensive guards have received over the past few years have been significant. According to Spotrac, of the top six deals currently at the guard position five have been signed in the past two years.

Carolina Panthers: Predicting Trai Turner’s Contract Extension

Carolina Panthers

The quietest player in the linebackers’ corner of the Carolina Panthers NFL locker room could very well be that group’s most important defensive weapon in the years to come.

Shaq Thompson won’t be Carolina’s starter in Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season, and he knows it. That’s still veteran Thomas Davis’ job, and rightfully so, Thompson says.

“Whether I’m in 20 plays, 30 plays, 40 plays, whatever it is, I’m going to make sure I make it count,” he said after Tuesday’s OTA session wrapped. “Right now he’s the starter, and I’m going to go in whenever my number is called.”

But in new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks’ scheme, Thompson’s combination of size and speed could make him a key against Carolina’s division rivals in the NFC South, where versatile offensive players are flooding in.

Shepard is a special-teams specialist and also will occasionally get on the field as a wide receiver. He will have a chance because although he won’t be among the Panthers’ top three receivers to start training camp, he is learning all three of the wideout positions with the idea he will always be active on game day due to his special-teams duties. So versatility will be key.

“I’m starting off in the slot,” Shepard said. “But one thing I learned in Tampa Bay (with the Bucs, his previous team) is that you should be able to play all positions. I’m kind of a ‘tweener.’ I’m a tall slot receiver (at 6-foot-1), but I’m not the tallest guy on the outside. So being able to play all three positions increases my chances to play.”

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