4 Panthers players on the roster bubble after the 2021 NFL Draft

(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Stantley Thomas-Oliver
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Stantley Thomas-Oliver /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /

Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers TE

For some, the presence of Ian Thomas on the roster is something of a surprise. The tight end simply didn’t do enough to convince anyone that he was capable of filling the starting void left by Greg Olsen long-term, which saw the Carolina Panthers lose a prominent pass-catching presence both across the middle or in the red zone.

This was clearly recognized by the team, who brought in Darnold from the Arizona Cardinals in free agency and also spent a third-round pick on ferocious Notre Dame prospect Tommy Tremble. This might spell the end for Thomas in Carolina somewhere in the coming weeks and there is much work to be done where the former Indiana star is concerned to alter perceptions at this juncture.

Although Tremble was seen more as a blocking tight end with the Fighting Irish, he was significantly underused in the passing game and if he proves to the coaching staff he can contribute in this area of the field, it will be another nail in the coffin of Thomas.

Releasing the 2018 fourth-round pick would save the Panthers $2.18 million and cost them a dead-cap figure of just $186,998. This money might be better off spent elsewhere and it would be a big shock if someone who was targeted just 31 times in 2020 was still around at the end of training camp.