5 former Panthers from the Ron Rivera era that could help in 2022

(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) Ron Rivera
(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) Ron Rivera /
2 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Greg Olsen /

Greg Olsen – Former Carolina Panthers TE

Trading for Greg Olsen was one of the first big moves from the Ron Rivera era and it ended up being an exceptional bit of business from the Carolina Panthers. The tight end quickly evolved into an indispensable member of the organization on and off the field, putting up numbers that have been extremely difficult to replace since his departure in 2020.

Olsen was a trusted target across the middle and in the red zone. He also possessed an ability to come up big in the moments that mattered to further enhance his overall influence.

Rivera would not have had such success in the role had it not been for Olsen, who was one of the best at his position and undeniably the greatest tight end to ever suit up for the Panthers.

Carolina’s new brass took the decision to let Olsen leave in free agency for the Seattle Seahawks. A decision they’d probably like to have back given how little Ian Thomas managed to contribute in a prominent starting role.

The Panthers remain confident in Thomas after surprisingly handing the player a three-year extension this offseason. They also have Tommy Tremble, who could also be set for an increased role with new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo calling the shots.

It’s unlikely that either will replicate what Olsen brought to the table consistently. What the Panthers would give to have such an influential figure in his prime right now.