5 winners and losers from the Carolina Panthers preseason loss vs. Lions

Who saw their stock rise or fall during the Carolina Panthers last warmup game?

Adam Thielen
Adam Thielen / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Loser No. 1

Ian Thomas - Carolina Panthers TE

One could make a strong case that if Ian Thomas hadn't been given a three-year extension by the previous regime, he'd be off the Carolina Panthers already. While he did agree to take a pay cut after those in power brought Hayden Hurst into the fold via free agency, there's something missing in terms of pass-catching production where the former fourth-round selection out of Indiana is concerned.

This has been the case ever since the Panthers elevated Thomas to their primary tight-end option following Greg Olsen's departure in 2020. His blocking is the only thing keeping him around currently, which probably indicates he'll be on the 53-man roster when push comes to shove.

It's also clear that those occupying positions of power value Thomas much more than the fanbase, who've become tired of watching an underperforming individual with every physical attribute imaginable fail to meet expectations. His two catches for three receiving yards against the Detroit Lions told their own story.

What the future holds for Thomas is anyone's guess. He'll probably be Carolina's blocking tight end - although Hurst has no trouble in that discipline - but it'll be a huge surprise if he's heavily involved during what could potentially become his last season with the Panthers in 2023.

That might sound harsh. But Thomas brought this on himself by spurning every big opportunity in recent years.