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Thursday, February 21, 2013
Can Panthers keep Williams and Stewart?

By Pat Yasinskas

Although many think it’s a foregone conclusion that the Carolina Panthers will have to part ways with either DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart, new general manager Dave Gettleman said that might not end up being the case.

“Can we keep both of them? Again, decisions have to be made,” Gettleman said to the media at the scouting combine in Indianapolis. “I don't see why not.”

I wouldn’t expect Gettleman to say anything different at this time, but I don’t see Williams and Stewart both on the opening-day roster.

We’ve been through it before, but let’s run through it again. They’re both talented running backs. But, along with Mike Tolbert, the Panthers have way too much money invested in the running back position. They also have a major salary-cap problem.

Someone has to go, and I see no way that it’s Stewart, because he has three years of guaranteed base salaries remaining on his contract. On the other hand, the Panthers could clear nearly $5 million in cap space for this year if they designate Williams as a June 1 cut and spread his cap hit over this year and next.

But it makes no sense for Gettleman to tip his hand before the Panthers have to get under the salary cap on March 12. Williams is a guy that could have some trade value, and the Panthers can keep that value high by making it sound like they’re not looking to trade him.