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March 19, 2012

Panthers sign Mike Tolbert to 4-year deal

The Carolina Panthers' “Double Trouble” backfield combination has become the “Triple Threat.”

But for how long?

Free agent running back Mike Tolbert signed a 4-year contract with the Panthers this morning, joining a backfield that already includes DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.

Joel Turner, Tolbert's agent, said the deal includes an option bonus for the final two years of the contract that must be exercised next year. Turner would not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but said the first two years are guaranteed.

The inclusion of the option clause gives the Panthers protection in the event they are unable to re-sign Stewart next year. The Panthers also could look to trade Stewart before he enters the final year of his contract, although multiple team sources think that scenario is unlikely.

Tolbert, who spent the last four seasons in San Diego, drew interest from several teams, including the Chargers.

Tolbert led the Chargers in rushing in 2010. But he also brings a lot of versatility to Charlotte.

At 5-9 and 243 pounds, Tolbert also is an accomplished blocker and special teams player.

Tolbert led San Diego in special teams tackles last season. The former Coastal Carolina standout becomes the Panthers' third free agent acquisition with extensive special teams experience, following safety Haruki Nakamura and linebacker Kenny Onatolu.

The Panthers were near the bottom in most special teams categories in 2011, and hired an assistant special teams coach this offseason.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on March 19, 2012 at 12:36 PM | Permalink


I see alot of 52-50 victories in the future. This offense is going to be a beast!

Posted by: YeahRight | Mar 19, 2012 12:49:14 PM

So which CB to you propose we pick-up?

Posted by: Kevin | Mar 19, 2012 1:09:31 PM

I don't count four starting caliber backs. Goodson is a backup at best.

Posted by: Jimcat | Mar 19, 2012 1:17:09 PM

Carlos Rogers (who we should have also gotten last year), Richard Marshall (obviously not capably replaced), Tracy Porter, Jason Allen, or Rashean Mathis would be starters opposite Gamble without any competition, and all are either free agents or were signed to more-than-reasonable deals.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Mar 19, 2012 1:17:10 PM

actually wonders what all the tebow people of the world are thinking right about now lol

Posted by: zach | Mar 19, 2012 2:01:50 PM

Ignore the anti-Cam talk. those aren't Panthers fans.

Interesting signing if we dont plan on trading Williams or Stewart, unless Tolbert doesnt plan on being used much as an RB?

Posted by: hi thar | Mar 19, 2012 2:22:47 PM

They might just plan on using Tolbert as more of a Fullback. I bet Stew gets dealt.

Posted by: Mtn H2O | Mar 19, 2012 2:27:02 PM

Mike is here to improve improve on special teams, and this is another piece. If the offense can give us 21 point/ with another 10 coming from special teams, we will be fine. We were three games out of the play-offs. How many do we win with improved special teams. When I think Bad Special Teams, I think Arizona, Chicago, and Minnesota, blown punt and kick off coverage, and missed FG in 2nd half, and and bad punts. Just the above games would have the team at 9-7 and in the wildcard hunt.

As for the need for another CB, I think that need diminishes, the 2nd year in this offense, and with our linebackers back, and an improved DL. Over the past couple of season the DB's have become the scapegoat on defense, but in reality, we have not had a pass rush. If you give any QB in the NFL 10 seconds to find a receiver, he will. Likewise, if you dominate on the line, with athletic LB's covering the middle, we win a few more games. Just those coule of changes could have the team at 10-6.

Posted by: JC | Mar 19, 2012 2:48:20 PM

The trolls are out in full force today...

Posted by: therealjd | Mar 19, 2012 2:50:29 PM

Marty Hurney should be fired immediately! We need WR, D-Line and CB, not RB!

Posted by: uoewuoi | Mar 19, 2012 2:55:06 PM

When we hear what the dollar amount is on his contract, it will probably tell us whether Williams or Stewart are getting dealt or Goodson is simply going to get cut.
A couple teams with two first round picks & a definite need for a RB would be a likely target here. Anything lower than a 1st round pick - won't get it done.

Posted by: Mo | Mar 19, 2012 3:48:37 PM

Assuming the Panthers/Hurney is able to trade Williams or Stewart for a draft pick,I think the Panthers would LOSE out BIG TIME given Hurney's track record of making draft picks outside the 1st round. So Panther Fans better hope they can get a 1st round pick in return, otherwise, Panther might as well let Stewart walk.

Posted by: CharlotteFan | Mar 19, 2012 4:08:31 PM

I'm sure Tolbert was brought in for kick off returns and punt returns maybe even a little fullback. Goodbye Goodson and Vaughn. Your 15 minutes are up.

Posted by: dwilliamsfan34 | Mar 19, 2012 4:09:22 PM

@ JC yeah, your right about the pass rush but do you honestly believe Munnerlyn is a starting caliber corner? I don't think so. I think we'll address the majority of our needs in the draft though. I'm not too worried about that.

Tolbert was a guy I thought the Panthers would be interested in and I think getting him was a good move. He was signed because he can block, be a reliable safety valve out of the backfield, runs well AND plays special teams too. So you're tellin me you don't want that guy on your team? Really!? Some of you people are mad because you got a player that makes your team better in several phases of the game. WOW! But some fool wants Tebow instead of Newton? TEBOW??? Come on.

Posted by: OBXsurfer4 | Mar 19, 2012 4:16:51 PM

Everyone is jumping the gun on this Stewart being traded thing... I think that we just got Tolbert to play FB and some special teams and in emergencies he can spell Stewart and Williams. I do not think that this move was made so that we could put Stewart on the block.

I bet that a year from now they restructure Williams contract so they can make some room to pay Stewart and resign him.

One thing is for certain, our backfield with Stewart Williams Tolbert and Newton is going to be VERY dynamic!

Posted by: Garage Storage | Mar 19, 2012 4:20:22 PM

he's the fullback we could never find and he lead the Chargers in special teams tackles! We are actually going to tackle the other teams punt returner this year!

Posted by: joe cool | Mar 19, 2012 4:21:25 PM

he's the fullback we could never find and he lead the Chargers in special teams tackles! We are actually going to tackle the other teams punt returner this year!

Posted by: joe cool | Mar 19, 2012 4:21:26 PM


rabble rabble rabble

Posted by: Johnnie | Mar 19, 2012 4:28:05 PM

Shockey is not coming back! He's the h-back! He is not replacing a running back he is replacing Shockey!

Posted by: joe cool | Mar 19, 2012 4:35:58 PM

Evidently, 11 carries per game is too much for double trouble. Now they can focus on 7 carries a game. If there is a trade for another 1st round pick - smart move. If not, who the heck is running this show?

Posted by: Webpourri | Mar 19, 2012 4:36:29 PM

Well, I guess this shows that Hurney had NO idea what he was thinking when he gave Williams that huge contract last year. Lack of oversight of player personnel and cap management bites the Panthers again. I sure hope we can get good compensation for either of the 2 quality, proven and legit RBs the Panthers now have.

Posted by: PanthersRock | Mar 19, 2012 4:40:04 PM

Please release the midget Captain Munnerlyn i will be the happiest person,i cant believe that guy is still on our team and a starter too.the guy is 5"8 come on

Posted by: doa2 | Mar 19, 2012 4:57:36 PM

Captain Munnerlyn looks like Rajon Rondo :)

Posted by: mickel | Mar 19, 2012 4:58:46 PM

Seems like it's a good pickup, but considering the existing quality depth at RB and the abysmal lack of quality across the entire defense, this is a real head-scratcher to me.
Re the RB's - truth be told - Deangelo's best days are actually already behind him. In 2011 he never made any of the amazing runs he used to make with regularity before. But Stewart is still a beast, and I hope they have it in mind to keep him if at all possible. If they could snooker somebody else into thinking that William is still in his prime, they'd do well to get whatever value they can by trading him now.

Posted by: WayneD | Mar 19, 2012 5:02:11 PM

Still no defense improvement DT or CB is needed big time

Posted by: mickel | Mar 19, 2012 5:02:33 PM

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