The Panthers signed veteran RB Jonathan Stewart to a five-year contract extension on Saturday, the team announced.
Stewart is part of a three-headed backfield in Carolina that includes DeAngelo Williams and newcomer Mike Tolbert, who was signed as a free agent from San Diego in the spring.
“We are thrilled to be able to extend Jonathan for five additional years,” said GM Marty Hurney in a statement released by the club. “He is a perfect fit for our organization. He is a playmaker who can make the difference in games and we have seen the impact he and DeAngelo Williams have had on our team.”
Stewart rushed for 761 yards and four touchdowns on 142 attempts in 16 games (three starts) in 2011. He also caught 47 passes for 413 yards and one score. In four seasons in the NFL, all with the Panthers, Stewart has racked up 3,500 rushing yards and 26 TDs on 725 carries and 81 receptions for 702 yards and three TDs.
Stewart was a first-round pick (13th overall) of the Panthers in 2008.