Shortly after the draft wrapped up, Darin Gantt wrote that the Panthers made picks that gave them the flexibility to part ways with players carrying burdensome contracts down the road.
One of those picks was the selection of running back Kenjon Barner in the sixth round. Running back wasn’t a particularly big need with Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert already on the roster and General Manager Dave Gettleman having said earlier in the offseason that he didn’t see why the team couldn’t hold onto all their backs, but Barner’s arrival led to another question about keeping Williams during an interview on The Fan 610 AM in Charlotte.
Gettleman stopped short of guaranteeing that Williams would be on the Panthers come September, saying that “right now, he’s on the roster” and pointing out with a laugh that none of us really know where we’re going to be tomorrow.
“You can never have too many good players at one position,” Gettleman said. “More often than not, nature will take its course. You might have an injury, you might make a move. Anything’s possible, the roster is fluid.”
If the Panthers were going to cut Williams, they likely would have done it by now with the June 1 designation that allows them to spread out the cap hit they’d incur over the next two years. Since they’ve swallowed Williams’ salary this long, there’s not much reason to believe they wouldn’t continue to live with it into the season.
There’s been trade talk around Williams in the past, however, and Gettleman hardly sounds opposed to exploring that route should a team come looking to make a deal for Williams at some point before the start of the season. Such a trade probably wouldn’t be in the cards unless a team decided they didn’t like their crop of runners or lost one to injury, so Williams will likely be on the Panthers a while longer. Assuming, as per Gettleman’s warning, he’s on Earth at all.