5 extremely early Carolina Panthers salary-cap cut candidates in 2025

Could these Carolina Panthers players get cut in 2025?
Adam Thielen
Adam Thielen / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Adam Thielen - Carolina Panthers WR

  • Cap saving: $3.41 million
  • Dead money: $5 million

Adam Thielen was the best wide receiver on the Carolina Panthers by a considerable margin last season. The free-agent signing had to assume WR1 responsibilities as others fluffed their lines, going over 1,000 receiving yards and providing quarterback Bryce Young with his only reliable target during a rookie campaign to forget.

Things should be a lot easier for Thielen next season. The Panthers acquired Diontae Johnson via trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers and drafted Xavier Legette at No. 32 overall. This should reduce his workload considerably, which is exactly what the former undrafted free agent out of Minnesota State needs at this late stage of his career.

Thielen looks like a primary salary-cap candidate next year given his age and the hope Carolina's young wideouts can make strides under new head coach Dave Canales. The savings don't outweigh the dead money, so perhaps working out a trade if a willing suitor can be found represents a more desired course of action in this scenario.

Miles Sanders - Carolina Panthers RB

  • Cap saving: $5.22 million
  • Dead money: $2.95 million

Miles Sanders' first season with the Carolina Panthers was an unmitigated disaster. The running back joined on decent money from the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency and had bold ambitions to become a genuine three-down threat. It didn't take long to realize this wasn't going to happen.

Sanders dealt with injuries early on, but something was missing. He looked sluggish and lacked the on-field vision or explosiveness needed to firmly establish himself. Once Chuba Hubbard got a shot, the former fourth-round selection looked much more impressive.

The Penn State product is still around, but what role awaits Sanders remains to be seen when one considers the presence of Jonathon Brooks, who was drafted by the Panthers at No. 46 overall. Unless there is a big upturn in consistency from the veteran, this will be his last season in Carolina.

Releasing Sanders next spring with one year remaining on his deal comes with $5.22 million in savings and $2.95 million in dead money. This seems like a no-brainer right now.