Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Impact of Mike Tolbert Signing on Carolina's Offense

Last July the Carolina Panthers handed running back DeAngelo Williams a five-year, $43 million contract extension in order to keep him in a Panther uniform. The deal included $20 million in guaranteed money.
Williams, 28, along with teammate Jonathan Stewart, 24, have created one of the most dangerous running back duos in the National Football League. Over the last two seasons, both backs have been battling injury yet they have still combined for an average of 1,832 yards and 15 TDs per season since Stewart broke in to the league as a rookie in '08.
But just yesterday the team made an interesting move by signing former San Diego Charger running back Mike Tolbert.
Tolbert, 26, has run for 1,410 yards and 20 TDs in his four seasons while backing up Ladainian Tomlinson and Ryan Mathews in San Diego. The deal was reported as a four-year deal with $2.5 million guaranteed.
Now, I clearly don’t have any inside connections with the Carolina Panthers organization, but I believe it’s rather obvious why the front office made a move on Tolbert: they would like to deal either Williams or Stewart.
As scary as a Williams/Stewart/Tolbert RB trio sounds, there’s no way they start the 2012 campaign off with all three on the roster. There’s just too much talent and not enough room on the football field.
Considering Williams just signed the five-year extension last offseason, and Tolbert was just brought in yesterday, it looks like the speedy Jonathan Stewart will be the odd man out in this situation.
Luckily for Carolina, Stewart is entering the final season on his rookie contract, so teams will be willing to deal for him since it will not cost them too much money. The only questions remaining to be answered are where and when?
Carolina's offense, led by Offensive Rookie of the Year Cam Newton, is looking scarier by the minute and I would not be surprised in any way if they gave New Orleans and Atlanta a run for their money in the NFC South this coming season. A more matured Newton in 2012 could spell disaster for opposing defenses.
Carolina adding Tolbert could be one of the most underrated signings of the Free Agency Period this off-season. Not only can he be productive as a third-down back (likely behind Williams), but he can also catch passes out of the backfield and play special teams. He even broke in to the league as Ladainian Tomlinson's fullback in 2008.

The durable Tolbert is excited to be playing for head coach Ron Rivera and the flashy Newton, as well. Seems like a match made in heaven, if you ask me.
Photo credit
Tolbert: Harry How/Getty Images

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell us what you think!