Even though the Carolina Panthers intend to continue to split touches between running back DeAngelo Williams and running back Jonathan Stewart, the Panthers still opted to give Williams a contract worth $43 million over five years, with $21 million guaranteed.
Since that signing, however, the running back market has gotten flat, as evidenced by low-level deals signed by the likes of Willis McGahee (four years, roughly $10 million), Marion Barber (two years, $5 million), and Cedric Benson (one year, roughly $3 million). The latest high-profile veteran to agree to terms, Ahmad Bradshaw of the Giants, will get closer to the low end than the high-water mark established by Williams.
According to Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger, Bradshaw’s deal is worth $18 million over four years, an annual average of $4.5 million. The guaranteed money is $9 million, coming from a $5 million signing bonus and a guaranteed salary of $1.5 million in 2011 (it’s safe to say he would have made that money anyway) and $2.5 million in guaranteed base salary in 2012.
It’s not DeAngelo money, but no one not named Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson will be approaching or passing Williams’ deal. Given the current market for veteran running backs, it’s right about where the deal should have been.