Three days after signing a $16.95 million extension with the Carolina Panthers, tight end Ian Thomas is facing five misdemeanor charges after attempting to evade police back in July 2021.
As reported by The Athletic, the incident occurred on July 12, 2021, with court records showing that Thomas was driving an unregistered and uninsured 2017 Honda on a suspended license when a Huntersville police officer noticed a dirt bike and a red ATV.
The officer initiated a traffic stop and after looking like they were about to stop, Thomas and a friend sped up and drove into a lane of oncoming traffic at around 9.30 p.m., near a Walmart north of Charlotte.
Thomas was stopped about a mile and a half from his home, according to court records. He was arrested and jailed on five counts, including reckless driving and felony fleeing to elude.
George Laughrun, Thomas’ attorney, said prosecutors have reduced the lone felony charge to a misdemeanor.
The Panthers were aware of the incident but refused to comment as it is an ongoing legal matter, and they also notified the NFL when the incident happened.
Panthers sign Thomas to 3-year extension; questions still loom over the franchise as to who the starting QB will be in 2022
It was confirmed on February 25 that Thomas and the Panthers agreed to a $16.5 million, three-year extension, including $8 million fully guaranteed.
Carolina's fourth-round pick in 2018 had 18 receptions for 188 yards last season but has developed his blocking game since arriving in Charlotte. Thomas has a total of 90 receptions, 802 receiving yards and four touchdowns through his first four years in the NFL.
New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who moved from the New York Giants to Carolina for the 2022 season, usually has a system reliant upon the tight end position.
With Thomas and Tommy Tremble on the roster, this gives them a solid base at the position as they look to revamp the offense.
One position that is still up in the air in Charlotte is the quarterback position. There have been rumors that Cam Newton, who led the team to the Super Bowl in 2015, may return to the franchise for 2022 as the team continues to weigh their options at the position.
With PJ Walker and Sam Darnold on the roster for 2022, it remains to be seen whether they will move forward with one of those as their quarterback or if they will look to free agency or the draft to fill their starting position.