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Panthers expected to deal Stewart
Posted Mar. 24 at 05:05 AM
When the Panthers signed Mike Tolbert last week, our initial feeling was that dealing one of the team's incumbent running backs wasn't in the cards. Tolbert is really more of a fullback than a tailback, so in theory he could co-exist with DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson.
But looking around the Internet, it's clear that most NFL observers expect Stewart to be on the move before the start of the season. ESPN's Pat Yasinkas, a longtime Panthers beat writer, says Tolbert was brought in to be the No. 2 back, and that either DeAngelo Williams or Stewart will be traded. Len Pasquarelli of The Sports Exchange also figures Stewart will be traded.
Stewart is in the final year of his contract, while Williams was dramatically overpaid for last offseason and is locked up (and probably untradeable) for multiple seasons. Tolbert reportedly took less money to sign with the Panthers, which seems to suggest he was promised a bigger role than simply No. 3 back. That's just speculation, but it's also the only way to make sense of him choosing to join Carolina.
Possible landing spots for Stewart include, according to Yasinkas, Denver, where John Fox is a fan, and the Broncos have little apart from Willis McGahee. That could change in the next week, with Joseph Addai a free agent, but a deal for Stewart makes sense. There are a lot of other possible landing spots for a back the caliber of Stewart, ones either lacking a clear starting tailback (Cleveland, Green Bay, Jets) or maybe needing to fill the other half of a tandem (Giants).
Yasinka expects a trade to go down between now and next month's draft. It would definitely be a positive for Stewart's fantasy value, as well as that of Williams and Tolbert.
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