Thomas is primed for a key role at tight end for the rest of the season after the Panthers placed teammate Greg Olsen (foot) on injured reserve Wednesday, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer reports.

Thomas was unable to capitalize on Olsen's absence the first time around, catching eight of 14 targets for 68 yards over a three-game span while averaging 54.7 snaps per contest. However, the rookie fourth-round pick looked much better in Sunday's 24-17 loss to Tampa Bay, catching each of his five targets for 46 yards after hauling in just one pass over the previous seven weeks. Thomas will kick off his second run in the starting role with a favorable Week 14 matchup at Cleveland, facing a defense that has given up the most catches (75) and targets (111) to tight ends, albeit with a mark of just 6.5 yards per target.

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