Jerry Richardson is opening his pocket book in a good way. He has currently working, and succeeding, in acquiure in hosusee free agents to help the Carolina Panthers become a dominant member of the NFC South. For the first time, Richardson is breaking his own stereotype of being a cheap owner.
So far Richardson has unloaded a ton of money on Charles Johnson, about 9 million dollars on Ron Edwards and today the Panthers resigned DeAngelo Williams to a monster contract. To be exact the contract is worth $43 million over 5 years with $21 guaranteed. Join us after the break for an analysis of the most recent signings.
The resigning of DeAngelo may be more important than the signings of Charles Johnson and Ron Edwards. While Johnson represents a potential for a great defense, and Edwards represents a DT taking on multiple defenders, DeAngelo symbolizes the Panthers staying a team.
Williams has been a viable aspect of the Panthers offense since he was drafted in the 1st round of 2006 draft. DeAngelo is to the most recent Panthers as Peyton Manning is to the Colts. Williams is the definition of a franchise player. He has talent that most players dream of having, so much so he was in the top 3 of free agents this year until the Panthers resigned him. I think the proof is in many of his highlight videos, such as this one.
2008 and 2009 were definitely his best years in the organization. I’m not going to count last year because he was plagued with injury and only played about 3 games total. But in 2008, DWill rushed for over 1,500 yards and had 18 touchdowns. That season he could be ranked as one of the best running backs. He was so elusive that defenses were scared of him. DWill was a one man wrecking crew, and had a prime Jake Delhomme running his offense.
In 2009, we saw a different side of DWill. The Panthers drafted Jonathan Stewart in the 1st round of 2008, and many saw that as a slap in the face to DWill. Only thing, the contrary was true. As previously stated, DWill had an oustanding year during Stewarts first year with the team. 2009 showed us that DWill could still be amazingly effective even while sharing carries. DWill ran for over 1,110 yards in 2009, and JStewart and him became the first RB duo in history to acquire 1,100 yards each in a season. 2009 was the emergence of the Panther’s favorite Double Trouble. DWill showed that while sharing carries, if JStewart couldn’t get the job done, he could.
DWill is, and always will be, the Panthers’ favorite running back. He had a disappointing year last year, but the whole team was a disappointment. Defenses have to be scared now, as DWill and JStewart are both healthy and have a new RB to add to the mix. Mike Goodson was a shining star in the Panthers’ offense last season with back to back 100 yard games. Goodson proved he will be a useful tool in rebuilding the Panthers into a Super Bowl contender. Now, I’m not saying Goodson will be a regular tool in the running game, but he can and will be used.
What better way for Ron Rivera to run a run first offense, than with 3 of the best looking running backs in the league. Rivera lucked out by having Marty Hurney fork over the money to keep DWill in Carolina. He will now be coaching, quite possibly, the best running back core in the league. Add Cam Newton into the mix, and you have an amazing ground game. With these for players, the option might work in the NFL.
Watch out, for might be the best display of a ground game in the NFL. The other NFC South teams better prepare for Triple Trouble
All stats retrieved from ESPN.com.