4 burning questions for the Carolina Panthers at tight end in 2021

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Tommy Tremble
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Tommy Tremble /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /

What are the Carolina Panthers going to do with Ian Thomas?

The curious case of Ian Thomas is coming to a conclusion. Just what the formal outcome will be is yet to be determined.

Simply put, the former fourth-round pick blew his chance of cementing the No. 1 position long-term in 2020. The Carolina Panthers clearly wanted Thomas to fill this role, but for whatever reason, he was a non-factor in the passing game and the organization went in a different direction this spring.

Perhaps it was surprising to see the Panthers not cut ties with Thomas initially. They are willing to give the player another chance to regain his rookie form of 2018, although it might have to be from a rotational role rather than a starting position.

Thomas deserves credit for responding well to the challenge this offseason. More structure to the preparation period after COVID-19 restrictions last time out has certainly helped so far.

However, the situation regarding Thomas and his future in Carolina remains precarious.

The ball is in Thomas’ court, at least right now. Carolina would save around $2 million if they ended up cutting him before the season, so it’s up to the Indiana product to prove beyond all doubt he still has a role to play.

Only time will tell as to whether these intentions are finally backed up with production.