4 extremely early cut candidates for the Carolina Panthers in 2024

Donte Jackson
Donte Jackson / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers
Ian Thomas / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Thomas - Carolina Panthers TE

  • Cap saving - $2.35 million

When the Carolina Panthers signed Ian Thomas to a three-year deal last spring to prevent the tight end from leaving in free agency, it was a head-scratcher to many. The player remains one of the league's best blockers at the position, but contributions in the passing game have been non-existent and something that led to another capable body coming into the fold this offseason.

Thomas will have a part to play in 2023 with no real out on his contract. Whether it will be as a blocking specialist under Frank Reich remains to be seen, but flashing in the passing game just isn't going to cut it anymore.

The former fourth-round selection has the physical tools to put up decent numbers. Something he accomplished in surprising fashion as a rookie in 2018 when Greg Olsen was forced to miss a considerable period of time.

Things haven't gone nearly as well for Thomas in that capacity since. So if the same career trend continues, the Panthers could cut the Indiana product loose in 2024.

Letting Thomas go ahead of time represents a cap saving of $5.5 million and just $1.66 million in dead money. Much will depend on how things transpire during the upcoming campaign and how successful Hayden Hurst is after his free-agent arrival, but this might be a foregone conclusion when it's all said and done.