4 role players the Carolina Panthers should consider extending

Dean Jones
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) P.J. Walker
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) P.J. Walker /
2 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /

Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers TE

Although things look bleak for Ian Thomas following the arrivals of Dan Arnold and Tommy Tremble, it might be a little too soon to write off his chances just yet.

The tight end failed to become Greg Olsen’s long-term successor last season and was hardly involved in the passing game. This was a major disappointment for a player that clearly has plenty of athletic attributes to call upon, but Thomas has shown signs of life during the early part of the offseason program so far.

Head coach Matt Rhule praised the way Thomas has worked on his game away from the gridiron. Having a more structured preparation period is something the former Indiana standout is also benefitting from after struggling with the virtual aspect last summer.

"“I think doing in-person instead of virtual was a big step for me. Doing it virtually, I wasn’t really feeling it at the time. Staying in tune being locked in through a computer or iPad, getting reps, and learning the little things of the offense was off to me. This year is a lot easier because I can actually hear it from someone face-to-face and talk through it on the field. That was a big difference.”"

The Carolina Panthers have a big decision to make where Thomas is concerned in the coming weeks.

Releasing him would save them around $2 million on their salary cap, but if the player ends up sticking around and makes more of an impression when called upon next season, then an extension might not be too far behind.