4 ways the Carolina Panthers can create more salary-cap space

(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Matt Rhule /

How can the Carolina Panthers create even more salary-cap space ahead of free agency in 2021?

Credit must go to the Carolina Panthers for being decisive during the early stages of the offseason. New general manager Scott Fitterer has wasted no time in making some bold moves with the approval of head coach Matt Rhule to free-up plenty of salary-cap space that could see the organization become bigger players in free agency should the opportunity present itself.

They have also made their intentions clear surrounding the team’s desire for an upgrade on Teddy Bridgewater this offseason. Whether they can put the right sort of package together to land Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans is up for debate, but this clear identification of what they want to accomplish before competitive action rolls around in 2021 can only mean good things moving forward.

Carolina Panthers have almost $40 million in cap space.

According to Spotrac, Carolina now has the seventh-most cap space available at $37.41 million. There are plenty of questions to answer regarding out-of-contract players that need to be resolved sooner rather than later. But if this ruthless approach continues, it might see more in the way of financial resources created that could be better spent elsewhere.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at four ways that the Panthers can secure more wiggle room in the coming weeks.

Way No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /

Cut Ian Thomas loose

It just hasn’t worked out with Ian Thomas, who failed to make the most out of a big chance to fill the void left by Greg Olsen in 2020. The Carolina Panthers got little in the way of involvement or production from their tight ends and if they want to enter the postseason discussion next time around, this scenario needs to change.

Cutting Thomas loose ahead of schedule would save the Panthers an additional $2.18 million, which might not be the biggest lump sum the league has ever seen. But in the current financial climate, every little helps.

Even if Thomas is kept around on the final year of his deal, he’ll be fighting for targets more than ever with the expected arrival of a proven veteran or promising young college recruit joining the fold before OTAs begin.