3 Carolina Panthers players set for reduced roles in 2023

Ian Thomas
Ian Thomas / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Ian Thomas - Carolina Panthers TE

After yet another campaign of lackluster production from the tight ends, something had to be done. Especially considering Frank Reich and Thomas Brown's system is expected to be much friendlier to the position than anything implemented by the old coaching regime.

The Carolina Panthers acquired a new No. 1 option in the form of Hayden Hurst, who represents a dependable presence across the middle and in the red zone capable of smoothing Bryce Young's transition. While this is no doubt positive, it cast further don't on Ian Thomas' future with the franchise.

Thomas surprisingly got a three-year extension on pretty decent money last spring to prevent him from leaving in free agency. But after another season with almost no involvement from a pass-catching standpoint, one could have forgiven the Panthers if they'd decided to cut their losses entirely.

As it turned out, a compromise was reached. Thomas agreed to take a pay cut and remain on the roster, which might see a diminished role for the former fourth-round pick after he turned out in 55 percent of Carolina's snaps on offense last season.

Hurst will take over primary duties and hopes are high that Tommy Tremble can make strides after finally getting some proper development throughout the summer. This will likely relegate Thomas to blocking duties, which best suits his current status after offering little in the passing game as Greg Olsen's heir apparent.