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February 23, 2013

Panthers plan to keep DeAngelo Williams


The Panthers want to keep their highly-paid, backfield tandem intact.

Despite being about $10 million over the projected $122 million salary cap, the Panthers hope to keep both running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.

Williams, 29, is due to make $5 million this year and a has a cap figure of $8.2 million.

The team believes it can retain Williams at his current numbers. But a restructuring is possible depending on the team's other moves prior to the March 12 start of the league year, the source said.

When the Panthers signed Stewart to a five-year, $36.5 million extension last August, there was speculation Carolina would not be able to afford both backs. Green Bay was among the teams who inquired about Williams before the trade deadline, but he remained in Charlotte and re-claimed his starting spot after Stewart went down with ankle issues.

Williams, the franchise rushing leader, rushed for 737 yards and five touchdowns last season. He ran for a club-record 210 yards in a Week 17 win at New Orleans.

Stewart, 25, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle in January after missing seven games with issues with both ankles. He finished 2012 with 93 carries for 336 yards and a touchdown.

The Panthers signed free agent fullback Mike Tolbert to a four-year, $10 million deal last winter. Tolbert's seven rushing touchdowns and his 27 catches were the most among the team's backs.

Stewart's contract was recently re-worked to convert future option money into guaranteed base salaries, a move that was not made for cap purposes.

Asked this week at the scouting combine whether the Panthers could keep both Williams and Stewart, first-year general manager Dave Gettleman said: “Can we keep both of them? Again, decisions have to be made. I don't see why not.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera referred questions about the running backs to Gettleman.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on February 23, 2013 at 10:34 AM | Permalink



Posted by: EFord | Feb 23, 2013 10:46:01 AM

This team was two quality O-linemen away from the playoffs! Kalil comes back! We need a monster at right guard!

Posted by: joe cool | Feb 23, 2013 12:15:34 PM

Great idea.

Posted by: yonse2 | Feb 23, 2013 12:55:16 PM

Why? We need cap relief to sign some FAs. I'm assuming Gamble will be released then...but again, why keep all 3 backs? Pick one to deal and keep one with Tolbert, this is sufficient enough to win in the NFL I didn't see Balt or SF with this 3 back system. What we need are 3 quality WRs. Sure we have Smitty and Lafell but who else reliable? I'd like to say Murphy but the jury is still out on him...

I do trust the new GM based on his track record so I'll reserve judgment until training camp opens and we see who was brought in/cut.

Posted by: Bobcat Terry | Feb 23, 2013 2:17:16 PM

These decisions are not necessarily wise, but they are reactions to Marty Hurney, who was allowed to spend scared for 2 years.

However, unless DW has agreed to rework his deal, I don't believe this. Besides, most Panther scoops come from ESPN, not the Observer. This is a rumor with a 50% liklihood. I am willing to bet both are not on the roster in August.

Posted by: Gerry | Feb 23, 2013 2:47:41 PM

Signing Stewart was a mistake, the guy is injury prone. Keep Wiilliams for the long haul, he is durable. Release Gamble and get rid of Clausen and Armanti, they proved to be flops! Also, Charles Johnson is one of the highest paid DE in the league. I don't think he is that good, free up cap space with him.

Posted by: Palmetto Jack | Feb 23, 2013 3:38:09 PM

you guys are completely overreacting to being over the cap. plenty of teams are way over or projected to be way over to sign key guys. including baltimore who has tough decisions to make.

we don't....gamble is done. that puts us right around the cap.....then you have guys who will be cut to make room for the draft picks. ron edwards is solid but he hasn't been healthy much and he's up there in age and it's likely we go DT first round.

when you take gamble OFF the roster, we are right around the cap with (by my count) 57 under contract pre draft picks and free agency. we have a TON of guys to shave off. nakamura is another one. clausen is an option. joe adams is an option (can't see them keeping smith/lafell/gettis/pilares/edwards AND adams and he would be the weaker of the 6 in my eyes.

the great thing about this is that......we were 7-9 with all but 2 of those losses coming down to essentially 1 play. talent has not been the issue. hurney built a great team that rivera failed to coach to the playoffs last year but surely can't keep them out of the playoffs baring health issues this year.

this williams new is GREAT news. we should be running the ball a whole lot more next year and having him helps a lot with that. cutting him would not have saved what you would have lost talent wise. gamble is different. you save a ton, get younger and arguably get better. edwards, you would be swapping for a draft pick. nakamura the same.

and there still has to be something done regarding the linebackers. davis, beason, or anderson or all will have to restructure or one of them will surely be let go.

we are in great shape for next year. no major needs and the few needs (FS, DT) will surely be addressed in the draft.

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 23, 2013 6:00:21 PM

I say WR in rd 1, DT in rd 2, Safety in rd 4 and another safety in Free agency

Posted by: BMG23 | Feb 23, 2013 9:38:29 PM

I don't like to be a "sofa GM" so I'll just say that I only think these reports are coming out so our new crafty GM can maybe peak some interest in D-will's trade value. I'd still be ok if he was on the opening day roster this year though.

Posted by: Ghoul | Feb 24, 2013 6:21:09 AM

Good move #PantherNation...we need to shift to more singleback/powerback formations next year.

Posted by: Goddy | Feb 24, 2013 12:10:44 PM

Good move #PantherNation...we need to shift to more singleback/powerback formations next year.

Posted by: Goddy | Feb 24, 2013 12:10:47 PM

WR is NOT a priority. We have elite 1, solid 2 and above solid TE on a team that should be run heavy. We have 4 capable young guys of which 1 or 2 will surely need to be cut but all of them are capable of being a 3rd/4th receiver option and contribute on special teams.

DT, FS, nickel corner assuming we need to replace munnerlyn, and offensive line for depth. we literally need nothing else. a QB to groom as a backup would be nice but not necessary. guys like vince young and josh johnson grow on trees. edwards is completely capable of being an emergency backup.

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 25, 2013 12:50:35 PM

I feel we need one more receiver to take sum pressure off smitty. Because its like once smitty doubled we ain't a threat as we should. Lafell kool but inconsistent idk Wtf is up Murphy. They need Release Edwards and gamble and maybe davis to many acl tears for me. Adams need one more year let em breathe I still thank we shoudve got rid of rivers and got lovie smith. But this year will be the year kam shut everybody up.

Posted by: kakalaking | Feb 25, 2013 8:21:07 PM

We need an OT , DB or DT first round, no question and priority in that order... I think we already have plenty of recieving threats/options in Smitty, LaFell, Gettis, Murphy and/or Edwards, Olsen, Barnidge, DW, and Stewie so I strongly doubt we draft WR in the first round unless a gem falls within reach ... Gettleman already hinted that he wants Cam to be able to stand in the pocket longer, so I think we draft the safest or most talented OT or Guard in the first, but not necessarily... the choice depends on the best player available at #14... Also depends on how Gettleman views the teams needs and who he brings in at the start of FA will have a huge bearing on the decision first round.. remember draft is DEEP at DT this year ...

Posted by: Shaun NJ | Feb 25, 2013 10:25:35 PM

murphy is probably gone. I believe he's a UFA. but still....pilares, gettis, edwards....all completely capable to be impact 3rd/4th receivers and special teams guys.

Oline isn't that bad. you COULD draft a stud OT early and have bell/hangartner as the versatile backup/starting guard. but FS and DT are far more pressing. we have a starting Oline in tact with khalil coming back. we don't have a starting Dline with dwan edwards free agent and ron edwards probably getting cut. We have fua. FS you have to imagine that if they keep nakamura it's not to start and martin is gone for sure. Getting an ed reed type ball hawk there would solidify the back end of our defense.

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 26, 2013 10:59:00 AM

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