As further proof of the softening of the market for veteran running backs, Mike Tolbert’s new deal in Carolina is worth a total value of $10 million over four years.
Per a source with knowledge of the contract, Tolbert gets a signing bonus of $2 million and a fully-guaranteed base salary of $700,000 in 2012.
The deal also provides for a $1.5 million option bonus and base salaries of $1 million, $2.3 million, and $2.4 million in 2013, 2014, and 2015, respectively.
That pushes the total to $9.9 million. The final $100,000 comes from annual workout bonuses of $25,000.
At least the Panthers have realized what the rest of the league already knew. Last year, Carolina gave DeAngelo Williams $20 million guaranteed — and he rushed for 836 yards in 16 games.
And while Tolbert supposedly could have made another million per year by staying in San Diego, he didn’t. From Tolbert’s $2.5 million annual average and the one-year, $2.5 million contract signed by Peyton Hillis, it no longer pays as much as it used to to be an NFL running back.