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Ian Thomas agrees to 3-year extension with Carolina Panthers

The Panthers tight end will not hit the open market.

Ian Thomas (80) tight end of Carolina during an NFL football game between the Washington Football Team and the Carolina Panthers on November 21, 2021, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers have signed tight end Ian Thomas to a three-year contract extension, per NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport. The deal is reportedly worth $16.5 million and Thomas will get $6.435 million in first year cash and $8 million fully guaranteed.

Thomas is coming off a season in which he caught 18 passes for 188 yards. He did not reach the end zone across the full 17-game season. There had been some hope he would break out following Greg Olsen’s departure in 2020, but it hasn’t happened yet. He had a strong rookie season, filling in for an injured Olsen. He caught 36 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns. However, since then his target count has declined, with 30, 31, and 30 targets each of the past three seasons.

This isn’t a big contract, but it’s a commitment that suggests we might see a little bit more out of Thomas. Last season, he and Tommy Tremble were targeted at similar levels. Tremble finished the year with 35 targets and had 20 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown.