7 Panthers players that could be traded if slump continues in 2022

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Robbie Anderson
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Robbie Anderson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /

Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers TE

The Carolina Panthers raised a few eyebrows when they extended tight end Ian Thomas to prevent him from hitting the free-agent market. His production since Greg Olsen was allowed to leave in 2020 free agency has been non-existent in the passing game, although the player deserves credit for improving the blocking aspect of the position if nothing else.

Carolina clearly leaned on the opinion of Ben McAdoo regarding this particular move. While the offensive coordinator likes to implement tight ends heavily within a scheme full of 11 and 12 personnel plays, it’s seen little in the way of progression where Thomas is concerned despite flashing on occasions.

Thomas has brought in just six receptions from 12 targets for 85 receiving yards to date. He’s been on the field for 59 percent of offensive snaps, is credited with two drops, has a 73.3 passer rating when targeted, and a dismal 47.7 grade from Pro Football Focus as a result of his efforts.

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, there were a few teams looking at the possibility of signing Thomas before he was extended. If such interest remains, then it might be worth the Panthers exploring to see what they can get in return.

Trading Thomas saves Carolina around $3.94 million in cap space before June 1 in 2023. This would rise to $5.06 million if it was after this date.

This could leave Carolina short of viable tight-end options with Tommy Tremble also struggling. So in this eventuality, it would be among the team’s top priorities.