The Carolina Panthers may have the most underachieving backfield in the NFL given the amount of money their tailbacks make and the production they’ve had in years prior. This trio of running backs are owed quite a bit of money in the coming seasons, however I think one of them is going to be the odd man out this season.
DeAngelo Williams is the oldest of the bunch at 29-years-old and has been the talk of trade discussions for each of the last two seasons. The Green Bay Packers were even interested this year at the trade deadline when his name was mentioned. Most are speculating Williams will be a “post-June 1st” cut as that would save the team $3.4M in cap space and give a larger load to Jonathan Stewart who is just 25-years-old.
Stewart is an interesting name as he rushed for just 336 yards and one touchdown last year, however he has restructured his deal and is only making $1M in guaranteed money this season and $1.5M in 2014-15. Although he has a $2.5M signing bonus coming his way Stewart will likely be the number one back come this Summer’s team workouts.
I was absolutely shocked when the Panthers signed Mike Tolbert last offseason to a four year deal worth $8.4M. Tolbert was mainly used as a Fullback with 183 rushing yards and seven touchdowns last year. Although he looks like he may be 47-years-old the physical specimen is just 27-years-old and could combine with Stewart for a few more years.
The Panthers are $14M over the cap this year so something will have to give and I think Williams will be a cap casualty come June 2nd.