5 Marty Hurney draft picks who could be cut by the Panthers in 2021

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Marty Hurney
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Marty Hurney /
3 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /

Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers TE

  • 4th round pick (2018)

Opportunity knocked for Ian Thomas in 2020 after the Carolina Panthers decided to let prolific Pro Bowler Greg Olsen take his chances elsewhere in free agency. The tight end failed to take it.

Thomas went from promising, athletic player set for great things to an afterthought in the passing game pretty quickly. This was a bitter blow to the former Indiana standout’s chances of becoming a starting-caliber tight end and the Panthers weren’t going to wait around in the hope he’d make a substantial leap forward this offseason.

Carolina brought in Dan Arnold from the Arizona Cardinals in free agency and allocated a third-round pick on Notre Dame product Tommy Tremble to further boost their options. Both now appear to be above Thomas on the depth chart and unless he becomes one of the real stars of training camp, it could see the player cut when the team finalizes its 53-man roster.

The savings involved with Thomas’ early release also come into consideration. It would cost the Panthers just $186,998 in dead-cap money and an extra $2.18 million to spend elsewhere with the player heading into the final year of his deal.

Thomas was undoubtedly in the right place at the right time last summer. But it’s hard to look at his short and long-term prospects in Carolina with any sort of confidence judging by efforts during the previous campaign.