Panthers part ways with veteran running back Jonathan Stewart

INDIANAPOLIS (Jordan Rodrigue/Charlotte Observer) - The Carolina Panthers have cut running back Jonathan Stewart after 10 seasons, a source told the Observer on Wednesday. The team later confirmed the news.

Stewart, who will be 31 in March, had a year left on his contract with a salary cap number of $5.2 million. Releasing him creates $3.7 million in salary cap room for the Panthers.

"Jonathan played the game the way you want," head coach Ron Rivera said in a statement to the team website. "He brought an element of toughness as a runner that set the tempo for our team."

In 2017, Stewart passed DeAngelo Williams as the franchise's all-time leading rusher, with 7,318 yards. He ranks second in franchise history with 51 rushing touchdowns and 16 100-yard rushing games.

The move puts the Panthers in the market for a power-runner who can complement pass-catching back Christian McCaffrey.

One such back on the roster is Cameron Artis-Payne, an Auburn product who was drafted in the fifth round in 2015. Artis-Payne has played in 23 games in his career with 99 carries, 422 yards and four touchdowns.

Carolina released two other veteran players this week in cost-cutting moves. Defensive end Charles Johnson and safety Kurt Coleman were cut on Monday.