The Carolina Panthers have invested heavily in the tight end position and appear determined to add some depth behind star Greg Olsen. The team used their seventh round pick on Beau Sandland and then signed undrafted free agents Jake McGee and Andrew Bonnet.
These seven players are expected to compete for two spots on the roster behind Olsen. The additions of these many tight ends raises the question of how secure Dickson and Simonson's spots on the roster are.
While they are unproven, there is no question there is some talent within this group. Sandland has the best chance of these new additions because of the fact that the Panthers invested a draft pick in him. The former University of Miami and Montana State player has shown an excellent ability in pass catching as well as some experience in run blocking.
McGee is another player who excelled as a pass catcher from the tight end position during his time at the University of Florida. He does have some room for development and isn't quite on the level of Sandland in run blocking.
Meanwhile, Dickson has not had a major impact since joining the Panthers in 2014. Over the past two seasons, Dickson only has 27 receptions, 236 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
The team may also look towards the future when making a decision on Dickson. He is 28 years of age and is entering the second year of a three-year deal he signed prior to last season. If he was released this year it would account for about $2 million in cap savings, according to Spotrac.
This is a big difference compared to a player like Sandland, who is under contract through the 2019 season and doesn't have a cap hit higher than $735,000 in a given season.
This isn't to say that the Panthers have already decided they are going to release Dickson. However, he has clearly been put on notice and if the front office decides to go in another direction, they will have plenty of options to choose from.