CHARLOTTE, NC (Joseph Person/The Charlotte Observer) - The Carolina Panthers primed for the start of free agency Wednesday by again taking care of one of their own.
Fullback Mike Tolbert, a versatile player and strong locker room influence, re-signed on a two-year deal several hours before becoming an unrestricted free agent with the start of the league year at 4 p.m.
The contract is worth nearly $2 million per year, according to a league source.
The Tolbert signing came the same morning the Panthers brought back defensive end Charles Johnson on a 1-year deal after cutting him last week in a salary-cap move. Johnson accepted a $3 million contract from the Panthers that was half what another team offered him, according to his agent.
Tolbert, 30, has been effective as a runner, blocker and receiver since joining the Panthers in 2012 following four seasons in San Diego. Tolbert's original deal with the Panthers was four years and $10 million.
Tolbert has accumulated 878 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns with Carolina, to go with 84 receptions for 699 yards and five touchdowns. He's been selected to the Pro Bowl in two of the past three seasons.