Though running back Jonathan Stewart is now the third highest paid running back on Carolina’s roster — yet the best one on the football field — he’s been a diligent participant in offseason workouts. Theoretically, Stewart could be griping about his committee back role and $1.3 million salary entering a contract year. He’s taken a more honorable approach.
“I definitely hope things work out,” Stewart told Steve Reed of the Associated Press. “I want to be back. I think we have a lot of weapons on offense and we can be a dangerous team.”
Stewart was the subject of early-offseason trade rumors, but they didn’t amount to anything. The Panthers instead traded Mike Goodson, and Stewart will return as the better half of a one-two punch with Williams. Tolbert is expected to focus on fullback and special teams.
If Stewart doesn’t get the extension he desires in Carolina, he’ll be a hot commodity in 2013 unrestricted free agency. Per Reed, the Panthers “wanted to extend Stewart’s contract earlier this offseason,” and the organization “hasn’t given up hope.”