SAML SSO Plug-in failure after upgrade from JIRA 7.11 to 8.14

We are using a custom plug-in for SSO that is no longer working post-upgrade from 7.11 to 8.14.

The plug-in was then re-compiled using updated versions, but the problem persists will a null pointer exception on any reference to a component class declared in the atlassian-plugin.xml:

<component key="samlConfig" class=""

It appears this class is not being instantiated at runtime. I am reading here about the Spring framework:

Our SAML SSO plug-in currently uses option 1 ( element in the atlassian-plugin.xml for the bean that is no longer instantiating). Is there something in the version upgrade from 7.11 to 8.14 that would no longer support this methodology and require a refactoring to say Option 4?

This is also in the log that again appears to tie back to spring:

ERROR      [c.a.p.osgi.factory.OsgiPlugin] Unable to start the plugin container for plugin ''
org.springframework.beans.factory.CannotLoadBeanClassException: Error loading class [] for bean with name 'samlConfig' defined in URL [bundle://193.0:0/META-INF/spring/atlassian-plugins-components.xml]: problem with class file or dependent class; nested exception is java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: not found from bundle [com.bitium.jira.SAML2PluginJira (]

Thank you for any guidance on this resolution!