Originally written on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 11/15/14

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 27: Jonathan Stewart #28 of the Carolina Panthers rushes against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium on December 27, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Mike Tolbert is a now a member of the Carolina Panthers, and that makes little sense from the outside.

Well if Mike Tolbert is in who is out?

The Panthers are going to deal Jonathan Stewart or DeAngelo Williams at this point… right? Well, except for the little fact that they don’t want to trade Jonathan Stewart, at least from every report that is out there.

As Jason La Canfora has been talking about since the signing of Tolbert this does not mean that the Panthers are interested in trading Jonathan Stewart, and the contract of DeAngelo Williams makes things a little more difficult in any trade scenario, so what exactly are the Panthers doing?

While I respect La Canfora and his in depth knowledge, I disagree; I think this all but signals the end to the Stewart era in Carolina.

It isn’t because the Panthers don’t want to keep Stewart, but because the DeAngelo Williams contract would almost be impossible to move in this market, remember Williams just signed a 5 year $43 million deal last year.

So where does Stewart fit and where could Carolina get the best return?

New England Patriots:

The Patriots have over $9.5 million left in cap space, and own two second and a third round draft pick in the upcoming draft.

With Benjarvus Green-Ellis out exploring free agent options, why not make a play for Stewart if you are the Patriots?

The Pats could offer their 2nd or 3rd, of course if the reports of the Patriots having interest in Tebow are true you can probably exclude them from going after Stewart, because they will be sending that 3rd rounder to Denver for the Tebow.

Does Stewart Fit: This one is easy and doesn’t even need a ton of explanation.  Yes, Stewart would fit in seamlessly to the Patriots attack, with his ability to run out of the shotgun set.  The patriots don’t utilize the RB much out of the backfield, so Stewart’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield is a bonus, Stewart caught a career high 47 passes last year.

Why it won’t Happen:  The Patriots aren’t going to move a draft pick, someone that will be cost controlled and under contract for 3-4 years, for only 1 year of Stewart.

Cleveland Browns:

Another Browns trade rumor coming out, come on Seth.  Of course I have no inside knowledge and am completely speculating, so take that for what you will, but I think this makes just too much sense.

The Browns need a RB, and have been linked to Trent Richardson in the draft.  I am probably the biggest Richardson fan outside of Alabama, but if you can get a player like Stewart, who I don’t think is as good as TRich, but only have to give up a third round draft pick, you do it.

This would allow the Browns to take either Justin Blackmon, or Morris Claiborne at the fourth pick, or trade down to a team that is desperate for Blackmon,  Claiborne or God forbid, Tannehill.

Does Stewart Fit: Have you seen the depth chart at the RB position for the Browns?  Anyone fits in there.  The best part would be the fact that it gives the Browns a RB they are desperate for, and gives Stewart the chance to be the number one back on a roster that will give him the ball, a lot.

Why it won’t happen: They are the Browns?  Honestly I don’t see any reason for the Browns to not at least kick the tires.  They have a need, and could fill that need without giving up a high draft pick and a big salary for Richardson, but also grab the top prospect at WR.  Say what you want about Colt McCoy, but he hasn’t exactly had an abundance of weapons in his time in Cleveland.

Cincinnati Bengals:

The Bengals are another team I have been screaming to make a move to get Richardson, but the availability of Stewart could supersede the move to get Richardson and allow them to keep both first round picks, as well as their second round pick.

Does Stewart Fit: Oh yeah, and this may be the prime location for the young RB.  The Bengals have their (probable) franchise QB, franchise WR and a very solid offensive line.  They need a RB, and Stewart should flourish in a system where they love to run the ball, but also where there are established, if only for one year, weapons in play in Green and Dalton.

Why it won’t happen: The Bengals would most likely want to see an extension of some sort from Stewart before making the deal.  Signing Stewart to a 3-4 year deal at a lower cost than he will fetch next season after being the featured back would be important, and I am not sure Stewart would want to give up his free agency rights.

Others that could be interested:

Pittsburgh Steelers
Indianapolis Colts
New York Jets
St Louis Rams






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