4 strangest offseason decisions by the Carolina Panthers in 2022

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) David Tepper
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) David Tepper /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /

Carolina Panthers stood firm at TE

It’s been hard to find the right formula at tight end since Greg Olsen departed for the Seattle Seahawks in 2020 free agency. Such a legendary figure was always going to be missed, but the production has been non-existent in the passing game ever since and something that was expected to come with change this offseason.

The Carolina Panthers threw a little curveball by giving Ian Thomas a three-year, $16.95 million deal with a $5 million signing bonus and $8 million guaranteed to prevent him from hitting the free-agent market. This represents a further two-year audition for the Indiana product based on how his contract is structured, who could be a major beneficiary from the arrival of new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.

Thomas has improved his blocking tremendously and has the physical tools to be more impactful with additional targets. But this represents a gamble by the Panthers and one that could have some big-time ramifications one way or another.

Hopes remain high for Tommy Tremble to take the necessary leaps forward from a pass-catching standpoint in Year 2 of his professional career. However, it was strange to see Carolina stand pat when the pair accumulated just 38 receptions for 368 receiving yards and two combined touchdowns in 2021.

McAdoo is renowned for getting his tight ends involved early and often. Hopefully, this can have a positive impact on Thomas and Tremble moving forward.

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