Indications are the Panthers have not ruled out trading RB Jonathan Stewart this offseason, but we're told GM Marty Hurney will not give him up easily. Speculation turned to a potential swap involving Stewart earlier this week after the Panthers signed RB Mike Tolbert to a four-year deal, crowding a RB stable that already included DeAngelo Williams, Stewart — who is heading into the final year of his rookie contract — and Mike Goodson, who is also in the final year of his deal.
Carolina won't be motivated to trade Stewart for a moderate-to-low haul because Hurney knows the Panthers will likely receive a compensatory draft pick — perhaps as high as a third-round selection — if Stewart becomes a free agent next offseason and signs elsewhere. We hear offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is intrigued by the idea of having so many different options at running back, and the Panthers would be content to head into the season with the group of backs they have now.
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