The running back-hungry AFC North might not get any help from the Carolina Panthers after all.
It looked like the Panthers were going to trade one of their top runners -- presumably Jonathan Stewart -- after they signed free agent Mike Tolbert. Stewart might have received interest from one of the AFC North teams, all of which need a running back in some capacity.
But, as NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas points out, the Panthers are trying hard to stomp out the speculation that Stewart or DeAngelo Williams is getting traded. Carolina referred to Tolbert as a fullback in the official release, and paid him like a lead blocker.
The addition of Tolbert to the Panthers still doesn't make sense to me. It's hard to believe that the Panthers would stockpile all these running backs at a time when the NFL has become a passing league and quarterback Cam Newton can gain yards with his legs as well.
Maybe the Panthers will use Tolbert as a fullback and keep all three running backs. Or maybe the Panthers will change their minds, which could benefit a team in the AFC North.