Which Carolina Panthers players could now become early cut candidates next spring after the team's lack of trade activity before the 2023 deadline?
While it was surprising to see the Carolina Panthers hold firm at the 2023 trade deadline, there were plenty of legitimate reasons behind the decision. A lack of genuine offers, a need to hold onto their foundational pieces despite being 1-6, and the fact they could genuinely believe better fortunes are ahead over the second half of the season spring to mind.
That said, there are still more questions than answers about this roster long-term. One win doesn't change that fact, so there could be some big decisions upcoming for those in power unless there's a drastic turnaround in fortunes over their remaining 10 games.
According to Over the Cap, the Panthers have $57.9 million in financial wiggle room next spring with 40 players under contract. Considering the need to extend stud edge rusher Brian Burns, formidable linebacker Frankie Luvu, and potentially others, that doesn't leave them with much to spend unless there is some significant salary-cap manipulation.
Therefore, sacrifices need to be made. On this topic, here are four potential early-cut candidates following the Panthers' lack of activity at the 2023 trade deadline.
Ian Thomas - Carolina Panthers TE
- Cap saving - $2.35 million
- Dead money - $3.77 million
Looking at Over the Cap to see how the Carolina Panthers stack up financially across their roster makes for grim reading. That's what happens when you give out suspect contract extensions and big deals for free agents who are currently underperforming to begin their respective careers with the team.
Samir Suleiman and others within the front office have their work cut out and further restructures could be on the way. One player who could be removed early is tight end Ian Thomas, who isn't up to the required standard and should have been let go once his rookie contract concluded in hindsight.
This represents a minimal saving, but it's slim pickings elsewhere.