I’ve been guilty of it, and still think it’s a possibility the Panthers could trade one of their top two running backs. But the Panthers are trying to quickly get the word out that the signing of Mike Tolbert doesn’t mean Williams or Stewart is on the trading block.
In their release officially announcing the signing, the Panthers referred to Tolbert as a fullback, even though he was a running back with San Diego. Throughout the release, there are references to Tolbert as a fullback.
“Mike is a very versatile player who can do a lot of different things for us,” general manager Marty Hurney said. “He plays fullback, catches the ball well out of the backfield, plays running back, and is an outstanding special-teams player. It was a good fit, and gives us a chance to add another weapon on offense. We are excited about bringing him back to the Carolinas.”
Tolbert played in college at Coastal Carolina. More importantly, he’s got fullback size at 243 pounds. The Carolina offense, under coordinator Rob Chudzinski, makes unique use of fullbacks and H-backs. Chudzinski was an assistant in San Diego before coming to Carolina, and knows Tolbert's skill set well. So, it’s possible Tolbert really is ticketed for fullback.
Even if he is, he still gives the Panthers another possibility at tailback if anything happens to Williams or Stewart.