6 Carolina Panthers players that will not be back in 2022

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

Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers TE

  • 2022 free agent

There was so much hope for Ian Thomas once upon a time. The tight end looked tailormade to become Greg Olsen’s long-term successor at the position following an encouraging first two seasons with the Carolina Panthers, but the former fourth-round pick has regressed considerably since and is on the chopping block next spring.

Thomas has made some encouraging strides when it comes to blocking. But his relative lack of involvement in the passing game was not what anybody expected and the Panthers could decide to elevate Tommy Tremble into No. 1 on the depth chart or acquire a more prominent figure to assist in free agency or the 2022 NFL Draft.

Even though Thomas has been on the field plenty in 2021, he isn’t generating much in the way of targets and is having problems creating separation across the middle. Carolina’s current regime wasn’t around when the Indiana product was selected, so they’d seemingly have no problems moving on from him entirely.

Another team will take a chance on Thomas. A player with such impressive physical attributes normally gets another opportunity if their first one doesn’t work out.

However, it’s important that the Panthers get improved production from the tight end spot. Moving on from Thomas seems like the best possible solution at this stage.