A 1st round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Jonathan Stewart is now heading into a contract year. After signing Mike Tolbert earlier this offseason, there was some speculation that Stewart could be traded, but that turned out to be just speculation. Today Stewart expressed his desire to resign long term with the Panthers, though it’s unclear if the two sides are discussing a deal.
It wouldn’t be a total shock if the Panthers let Stewart hit the open market next offseason and he went elsewhere. The Panthers are pretty backed up against the cap after handing out of a bunch of big contracts last offseason, including one to DeAngelo Williams. Stewart would probably also find more playing time elsewhere. Stewart has only had 725 carries over 4 years, an average of 181 per season, because he splits carries with DeAngelo Williams.
Given that and their cap situation, Stewart could be gone, which makes you wonder why the Panthers locked up Stewart, 4 years older, to a 5 year 43 million dollar deal last offseason. That deal would have been better served going to Stewart, who has averaged 4.8 YPC in his career. If Stewart leaves, Mike Tolbert, who will play fullback this offseason, would be in line for more carries.