Why the Panthers’ extension of running back Jonathan Stewart is - | WBTV Charlotte

Why the Panthers’ extension of running back Jonathan Stewart is a double-win

The Carolina Panthers have extended the contract of veteran running back Jonathan Stewart (28) through the 2018 season. (David T. Foster III  | The Charlotte Observer) The Carolina Panthers have extended the contract of veteran running back Jonathan Stewart (28) through the 2018 season. (David T. Foster III | The Charlotte Observer)

CHARLOTTE, NC (Jourdan Rodrigue/ The Charlotte Observer)- The Carolina Panthers keep making the right moves in free agency.

On Friday, the team announced the one-year extension of running back Jonathan Stewart, locking him in through 2018.

Stewart, 30, has battled injuries often throughout his lengthy career but rushed for 824 yards and nine touchdowns last season and was a Pro-Bowler in 2015.

It’s was a double-win for the Panthers to get this deal done with their lead back. First, Stewart’s cap hit in 2017 would have been $8.25 million, so an extension likely reduces that number in re-structuring.

Second, it means that Stewart will be around to usher in the new generation of whatever running back Carolina selects in this year’s draft. And because he will be on the roster, it gives the team some security in case they don’t make the move many pundits suggest and draft star rusher Leonard Fournette – or if Fournette is selected before the Panthers pick at No. 8.

The Panthers can also consider a running-back-by-committee system featuring Stewart and a lower-ranked running back.

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