Monday, March 19, 2012

Will Tolbert signing mean the end of Double Trouble?

The NFL free agency pot is boiling these days, with Peyton Manning apparently headed to Denver to play for John Fox and Tim Tebow likely to be traded. That's huge news nationally, and I'm going to blog about it soon.

The big news locally, though, is the signing of running back Mike Tolbert, a former Coastal Carolina back whose 5-9, 243-pound build has long been compared to a bowling ball. His agent Joel Turner said Tolbert wanted to join the Panthers so badly he "left over a million on the table" to come to Charlotte.

Tolbert will join a crowded backfield that, for now, includes DeAngelo Williams (signed to a huge contract last year), Jonathan Stewart (entering the final year of his contract) and Mike Goodson (who fell out of favor last season and looks very expendable). Tolbert will apparently be a fullback, first and foremost, along with a special-teams player.

The Panthers use Cam Newton as a virtual running back at times, too, especially near the goal line. So can they afford another huge investment in Stewart, who will likely want DeAngelo money (a reported five years and $43 million) and will get it somewhere? Stewart is under contract this year but becomes a free agent in 2013.

I think this is a good move for the Panthers -- Tolbert will shore up the special teams, is versatile and is generally a good utility guy who played collegiately at Coastal Carolina. Panthers GM Marty Hurney called Tolbert a "very versatile player" in a statement.

Tolbert tied for the Chargers' team lead last year with 12 special-teams tackles and also led San Diego with eight rushing TDs. He's got a nose for the end zone, with 26 career TDs despite rarely starting.

If the Panthers can keep "Double Trouble" together along with Tolbert, more power to them. We've seen over and over how well Stewart and Williams work together. Tolbert certainly sounds like he won't mind blocking for either one of them when the Panthers get in a two-back set.

But can the Panthers afford to keep Stewart after this season? Maybe not. Two huge contracts is an awful lot to invest in the position when there are many times that Stewart or Williams only carries the ball 10 or so times per game.

With that being said, if rumors that DeAngelo or Stewart are on the trading block were true (the Panthers don't comment on trade rumors) would not surprise me at all.

But it also would surprise me if either was ultimately traded -- the NFL, for various reasons, makes far fewer trades than, say, the NBA.

If Stewart is traded, he would have to sign a new contract extension with the new team -- nobody would want to trade some significant assets for him and then risk losing him after a year (much like Greg Olsen did with Carolina). If Williams is traded, another team would have to assume a huge contract, which also can be problematic.

If there are no trade takers -- and either Stewart or DeAngelo, to me, would be worth a No.1 pick at the least -- then you could at least pair them together one more time for the 2012 season and just see what develops. The Panthers have one more year of Stewart at a cheap rate, so they don't have to make any immediate decisions about this.

But ultimately, Double Trouble is going to have to end sometime. Nothing lasts forever. And given Tolbert's versatility -- he's a fine insurance policy at several positions -- this does increase the possibility that it might be sooner rather than later.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think Double Trouble (as we know it) is closing down. Don't cry however...this is a TEAM move (overloaded at RB when you consider what Cam does on his own) and you don't know yet how it will play out. I expect Stewart to be traded and this translates into something big, likely in the draft. A defensive stud, more early round picks, or Blackmon.

Anonymous said...

Trade Williams and use the cap room to re-sign Stewart. DeAngelo reverted back to his old lazy self during the work stoppage and couldn't break a tackle all season.

Anonymous said...

Running backs rarely get number 1 picks back from a trade. Not sure what you are looking at Scott.m

Keeping it 100 said...

Let's sign SDs running back who we don't need yet let SDs top wide receiver, who we do need, slip past and sign the Tampa.

Not liking the coaching moves so far Rivera.

Anonymous said...

You can never have too much depth. And you have another brusing back to play in the second half of games to save wear and tear on Williams/Stewart to get them ready for the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

I'll say it again. We need to keep Cam healthy which means he needs to run the ball less. Whoever we have in the RB position needs to be more involved in the offense. The OL has got to step up and provide better protection for Cam and open bigger holes in the opposing DL. If Cam continues to run the ball so much, we are going to have an injured, broke down QB.

Anonymous said...

Throwing huge money at running backs is a waste.

Anonymous said...

Another strange signing, especially in light of signing D. Williams to a huge contract extension last year. Can they renegotiate D.Williams' contract and hopefully keep both? Both Willams and Stewart are great RBs & should command a top-10 pick, but Stewart really excelled last year and looked better in games. I hope the Panthers don't screw up the next RB transaction, but with Hurney at the helm, I'll be expecting another questionable transaction. Hurney made it much tougher on himself by giving Williams that HUGE contract last year. I'm just concerned that many other teams are making solid additions to their team, and the Panthers seem to be relying on the Draft this year. Would've been nice to have a better salary cap manager.

Anonymous said...

Are you crazy? A number 1 pick for either one of them? That will not be even close to what they will get. If their LUCKY, they will get a #3. On a previous post someone said a top ten pick. That is just too funny, wow.

Anonymous said...

This guy is a short yardage, 3rd down FB. <500yds last year with SD. You let Deangelo or Stewart go for this guy could be the biggest mistake made. Cut Vaughn if anything.

Anonymous said...

Cut Vaughn, try to get anything for goodson. Keep Stewart restructure Williams contract. Or try a trade maybe to a number 3 pick and try for Kalil help the o-line.the recievers will get us through another year.

Anonymous said...

Hello Carolina Chargers! I hope this works out. Personally, I think Goodson is good as done anyway with the team. I suspect either Williams or Stewart is also. I don't think it's personal, Coach R has a plan and Hurney is on board.

Anonymous said...

For those who think the Panthers are going to get a bounty for Stewart, think again. Running backs are losing value fast in the NFL, especially those who are hurt frequently. I think it is a good talent, but RBs seem to be a dime a dozen in the NFL anymore. I bet we get a 3rd rounder at best for Stewart, especially since teams now know that we want to trade him.

Anonymous said...

I think a big reason tolbert was signed was the versatility he brings in the offense. The guy has over 100 receptions for his career and provides another great safety net for Cam. I think we trade Stewart to move around in the opening rounds with teams that have multiple picks (Cincy, Cleveland) and snag a defender. Is it completely outlandish to try and trade our #9, Stew, and a mid rounder for Cleveland's #4? Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Great pick up for special teams, which the Panthers badly need. And to use in short yardage and as a fullback. Now to sure up the O line some and this offense will have a chance to put up major points each week. BTW Goodson and Vaughn will both be hard pressed to make this team in any capacity but special teams.

Anonymous said...

This is a really unecessary expenditure. Both Stewart and Williams are also versatile players who catch it well and can break runs of 30,40 yards on a regular basis. Receiver was clearly the bigger need and has been for years now.

Jean Claude Mustafa said...

I will give the organization the benefit of the doubt and see how it plays out..

I like both of our RB's and kick butt with them in Madden 12, online..

Phil57 said...

I wish I had the 2011 stat that tells how many times a Panthers drive stalled out at the one or two yard line and how many games were lost as a result. I know there were several. Tolbert is a nice move to resolve this problem (even if a decoy)...along with a healthy O-Line.

Anonymous said...

Toatally disagree ,Williams will be the one traded with the Panthers needing cap room THIS year ,and Williams is signed fpr 4 yrs which would be more attractive than a potential UFA next year in Stewart ,also the Panthers need to move a big contract to sign any draft picks THIS year = Bye Bye Williams.

Anonymous said...

Williams doesn't have that many years left. An early second rounder would be a good trade for him. I like Stewart better as an every down back. Can't believe Tolbert left a million on the table.

Anonymous said...

goodbye gaptoothed goodson

DieHardCatXX said...

Sounds like we are gearing up to run a full house wishbone formation! I like it though. Think about it- with Cam a serious running threat, Williams, Stewart, and Tolbert all on the field simultaneously with 5 linemen, Smith on the flank, and a Lafell (or God-willing a Justin Blackmon or Michael Floyd) on the other side. That's incomprehensibly unstoppable!! The defense will have no idea who to key in on!! It's like Tebow to 100th power!!

Anonymous said...

Do we really want to lose Stewart and keep Williams? Stewart has proven to be more versatile and more dependable in my opinion.

Freaky Ty Riki said...

DieHardCatXX,

I think it may be wishful thinking on your part, but, your enthusiasm gives me goose bumps and makes me chuckle. I don't see us with two RB's and an FB in the formation and foregoing our soon-to-be-a-star TE Olsen. If they're working with Cam on his ball placement during the offseason, I see Olsen doubling his production. But having a FB to help block for our running game is paramount. Like someone said earlier, we need to keep Cam from running. It's a nice option to have. But, I'd rather see that big arm than those big legs. Especially with the RB tandem we already have.

Sportsdon said...

How many times did Chud run plays with one of the tight ends in the backfield last season, which were never a real threat to run with the ball? He might be replacing Shockey, not one of the RB's. But keep typing away about who we have to trade knuckleheads!

Anonymous said...

i smell a marty move here. what a dang brain surgeon. he needs to go. buy a decent secondary

Anonymous said...

This is to replace Goodson. The Panthers can decide to keep Stewart and Williams next year if they want to, and I wouldn't be surprised if they do, but I don't think Tolbert has a huge impact on that.

This guy's role is to become the new Brad Hoover.

Anonymous said...

D'Angelo Williams said it himself.Neither him or JSTEW is going anywhere...y'all trippin

Anonymous said...

Pats fan here (popped in as I was curious to get a pulse on what the Rb vibe was with your organization )

a)Tolbert is a great addition to ANY team - no matter how many other rbs there already are on board. The guy is a special teams ace and a great locker room guy to boot.
b) You dont really want your Qb ducking his head consistently @ the goal line - eventually bad things happen . Tolbert can and will solve the issue.
c) NOBODY ...and I mean nobody will give you a 1st rounder for either rb. If you havnt noticed - the league is rapidly getting away from the highly -paid workhorse Rb model...too risky .Lower salaried Multiple Rbs that perform different duties is the way to go in the NFL ,and GM's now shy away from paying Star Rbs( look at what happened to arguably the leagues most explosive rb Chris Johnson after he signed for big bucks )
d) It's fairly well known that after DeAngelo got payed , he strayed. Great talent but way over payed. You're stuck with him ( and his cap eatin' self )
e) Stewart is equally talented - but as noted his contracts down to one year - so the question is ... Does he feel he needs to GET PAYED ? If so - nobody is going to be interested . On the other hand if he's reasonable and is willing to take market value ( or even below - say to go to a contender and possibly pad his wallet with playoff money and added marketing money )Then I'd say a mid to late 2nd might be in order... IMO.

Final note - Your franchise is clearly on the rise & Munchak appears to be a competent leader of men .I'm sure he knows better than anyone what needs to be done with the rb situation and has obviously begun to address it .
Best wishes from NE and here's hopin' we meet up agin in a SB soon.

Anonymous said...

I think some people are overlooking some key points in this. Tolbert has clearly been listed as a fullback. Show me how many teams dont have depth at running back....not many. Tolbert also took significantly less to come to carolina which opens up more money to be spent elsewhere. i don't thin k think this was a bad move. I know anything is possible in this BUSINESS but would hate to see Stew. or Williams go anywhere. Do I think anytype of trade will happen...No. It sounds like Tolbert has been taken mainly due to a great deal that he would take to come to Carolina, not meant as a replacement.

Anonymous said...

Stewart does have a history of injury concerns. However, a look at the stats will show his four year career average in YPC of 4.8 YPC is exactly the same as Adrian Perterson's five year average (4.8) and Chris Johnson's four year average (4.8).

If he were to go to the right place and stay reasonably healthy, I'd suggest he could be VERY successful for someone. Trade for a first round pick successful? Maybe not. Trade for a second or third? Absolutely.