It’s time for the Panthers to trade running back DeAngelo Williams if they can get a decent price for him.
The NFL trade deadline is 4 p.m. Thursday (it was extended from Tuesday due to Hurricane Sandy complications), and Williams is on the market. The way things are going now, the Panthers have way too much invested in a trio of running backs – Jonathan Stewart, Williams and Mike Tolbert – and are not getting nearly enough out of them in an NFL that is, after all, a pass-first league.
Getting a third-round pick for Williams doesn’t sound like much, but that’s probably about the right price. It’s what Greg Olsen cost the Panthers, after all.
What would help the Panthers more is they could get Williams’ contract off the books and spend that money elsewhere – like on another offensive lineman. But finding a suitor at the correct price will be difficult, since it will need to have cap room and an immediate running-back need.
I doubt the trade will ultimately happen. In the NFL, trades are rarer than in most pro leagues. But the Panthers should pull the trigger on this one if they can. And given how little Williams has been used this season -- he again hardly made a dent in the Panthers' 23-22 loss to Chicago Sunday -- I doubt if he would mind a bit. (UPDATE: A team source told The Observer that at least one playoff contender has inquired about Williams, but head coach Ron Rivera said he doesn't anticipate any Panther trades before Thursday's deadline.)