4 Panthers players already fighting for their futures this season

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Curtis Samuel
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Curtis Samuel /
4 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /

Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers TE

Ian Thomas was looking to make a real difference for the Carolina Panthers in 2020. The organization decided to part ways with Greg Olsen and put their faith in the former fourth-round pick to deliver the goods. But things haven’t exactly transpired as expected so far.

Thomas has been an afterthought in Joe Brady’s dynamic offensive scheme. He did manage to secure his first touchdown of the season against the Cardinals and it is vital that the Indiana product builds on this going forward.

If this is something he simply cannot do, then it would leave the Panthers with no other alternative other than to explore different possibilities next spring either in free agency or the 2021 NFL Draft. Thomas would only have himself to blame for not making the most out of this incredible opportunity, but there is still time to increase his relevance.

Whether the player will get the necessary targets to accomplish this remains to be seen. Carolina has a lot of mouths to feed on offense, which will only get worse once Christian McCaffrey is ready to make a return to the lineup.

There is much work to be done for Thomas, who has had trouble getting open efficiently across the middle. He is in the penultimate year of his rookie deal and it would cost the Panthers $1.86 million in dead cap money if they released him.