5 Carolina Panthers on the hot seat entering 2024 free agency

The heat is on...

Dan Morgan
Dan Morgan / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Which Carolina Panthers find themselves firmly on the hot seat entering a critical free-agency period for the struggling franchise in 2024?

This is one of the most important offseasons in Carolina Panthers franchise history. A two-win campaign that descended into embarrassment means the stakes are high to avoid adding further disillusionment across the fanbase. They are currently cautiously optimistic despite such turbulent times under team owner David Tepper. But they are not going to be fooled by big talk without substance anymore.

Dave Canales has a lot of conviction when he speaks about Carolna's plans for growth. He'll know talk is cheap after the previous two head coaches made outlandish predictions that rapidly became constant excuses when things turned sour.

There is a lot of hard work ahead leading into free agency. The Panthers have just $13 million in available salary-cap space, so additional restructures and sacrifices are guaranteed. What reinforcements arrive could also have implications on the futures of some in 2024.

With this in mind, here are five Panthers firmly on the hot seat entering free agency this year.

Ian Thomas - Carolina Panthers TE

Hayden Hurst has been informed of his release. Many thought Ian Thomas would quickly follow. Yet, the underperforming tight end remains on the roster heading into free agency.

This has been met with dismay from fans who've seen Thomas blow every opportunity that's come his way over the last three seasons. If the Panthers can acquire another veteran option such as Noah Fant on a decent deal, the former fourth-round selection could finally be deemed surplus to requirements.

The Carolina Panthers placed a significant amount of faith in Thomas when they allowed Greg Olsen to walk in free agency for the Seattle Seahawks. He couldn't meet expectations, so nobody would be shedding any tears if those in power went in a different direction at some stage in the coming weeks.

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