4 Panthers who were very lucky during the 2022 offseason

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /

87. . TE. Carolina Panthers. IAN THOMAS. 1. player

Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers TE

Ian Thomas could have been forgiven for thinking his future with the Carolina Panthers was done after his contract expired and the tight end failed to become more influential in the passing game. The former fourth-round pick out of Indiana did develop the blocking aspect of playing the position encouragingly, although much more is needed in the modern-day NFL and this left his prospects looking bleak from the outside looking in.

However, the Panthers decided to give Thomas a new three-year deal in the hope his athletic attributes can be put to better use in Ben McAdoo’s offensive scheme. This was the best possible solution for the player, but it’s unlikely he would have been out of work long on the free-agent market.

This was a big defeat dodged by Thomas and the Panthers were well within their right to look at alternatives if they’d chosen to do so. But what comes next for the player will be of critical importance.

Thomas has to work hard to become a factor in the passing game next season. The presence of second-year-pro Tommy Tremble also competing for valuable targets represents another significant challenge that cannot be overlooked.

It was a vote of confidence for Thomas to get such a contract. And there does appear to be a player of real potential in there if everything comes together in the coming months.