Mike Tolbert is a tough and versatile running back that you want on your team. But running back was not a priority for the Carolina Panthers, not with DeAngelo Williams signing a huge contract before last season and with Jonathan Stewart under contract through this season.
Stewart, however, will be free when the season ends and the contract he signed as a rookie expires. Is Tolbert insurance? The signing certainly creates opportunities. The Panthers can trade Williams or Stewart. What they can't do is pay Stewart as much as they paid Williams.
Tolbert, who played at Coastal Carolina, is 5-9 and 243 pounds and almost as wide as he is tall. His reputation is that he does what he's asked - run, catch, block and play on special teams. He makes the Panthers more interesting and more flexible in terms of trades but less flexible under the salary cap.
Be interesting to see what happens next.
In other NFL news, Peyton Manning appears headed to Denver. Denver coach John Fox was not adverse to scoring when he coached the Panthers but his priority was defense and a strong running game.
When you think of Manning, however, you do not think of handoffs. Be interesting to see how Fox opens his offense to accommodate one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.