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Panthers TE Greg Olsen will lose catches to wide receivers

The Carolina Panthers spent much of the offseason looking for a third tight end who could develop into the overall player that Greg Olsen has been the past three seasons.

So far they haven’t found one, because there are few players outside of New England’s Rob Gronkowski who do as much for a team as Olsen does.

Greg Olsen

ESPN Fantasy projection: 74.9 catches, 952.8 yards, 6.3 touchdowns

Over or under: This is a tough one because the Panthers are deeper at wide receiver than they’ve been since quarterback Cam Newton arrived in 2011. Thus, there will be more targets to throw to. Olsen had 73 catches in 2013 when Kelvin Benjamin was a legitimate No. 1 threat and now Devin Funchess is developing into a potential star. So I’ll go with under on the catches and yards. But I’m going to go over on the touchdowns. With teams devoting more coverage to the receivers, that should free Olsen underneath in the red zone. Few, if any, tight ends were tackled inside the 5 as often as Olsen was last season, so if he can turn a few of those into touchdowns, seven to 10 is attainable.

Who else could see time: I really thought Ed Dickson would have somewhat of a breakout year last season. He caught 17 passes, only seven more than the previous season. I don’t see more than that this season. The third tight end won’t get on the field much unless it’s a blowout or there’s an injury. Scott Simonson and Beau Sandland are the front-runners for that spot, with Simonson getting the edge.