5 contracts holding the Carolina Panthers back right now

The Carolina Panthers have some financial complications in their immediate future.

Miles Sanders
Miles Sanders / Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports
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Adam Thielen - Carolina Panthers WR

  • 2024 salary-cap hit: $9.91 million

Very few Carolina Panthers exceeded expectations last season. Adam Thielen was one of them.

The veteran wide receiver was seen as a slot/possession option after his high-profile arrival. As it turned out, he became rookie quarterback Bryce Young's go-to guy thanks in no small part to the failings of others.

This was a responsibility Thielen relished. His ability to create separation and secure tough catches caught the eye consistently. He went over 1,000 receiving yards on an offense that struggled to get anything going. While this wasn't the sort of environment he was promised by Frank Reich, he made the best out of a bad situation.

Thielen freely admitted this might not be the best place for him moving forward. He was sold a false dream. The undrafted free agent doesn't have many years left. But looking at his contract, a parting of the ways might be difficult.

The Minnesota State product is counting $9.91 million against the salary cap in 2024. Any willing suitors will be put off by such a big contract for an aging player, even if the Panthers eat some of the financial commitment in exchange for some valuable draft capital.

Either way, this was yet another contract handed out that the new regime is paying for. On the other hand, Thielen probably would have gone elsewhere had he not gotten some long-term security.