The Carolina Panthers added even more depth to their running back position today with the signing of Mike Tolbert. Tolbert spent the first four years of his career in San Diego, where he had some productive years as a power back and showed his skills as a reliable pass catcher. While in San Diego he was coached by Ron Rivera and Rob Chudzinski, so he is familiar with pieces of the Carolina coaching staff. This move might seem surprising to some (and a little surprising to me as well), however we all know Rivera has shown interest in picking up nearly every former Charger that becomes available, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see him go after a player who has actually had some success in the league.
My immediate thought when I saw this signing was that the Panthers must be considering trading either DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart because Mike Tolbert is too good to be sitting bench as the third-string running back. However, the Panthers have acted like they don’t intend to trade either one of their current running backs. In fact, it seems as if the Panthers plan on Tolbert serving in the role of a fullback/H-back type of player. In Rob Chudzinski’s offense the tight ends and fullbacks/H-backs are used in the passing game and in blocking quite frequently, so to have a guy like Tolbert who has the size to play fullback and also has the athleticism to play running back or the H-back position could prove to be very beneficial for the Panthers.
However, Tolbert’s signing pretty much puts the nail in the coffin as far as Mike Goodson’s career with the Panthers is concerned. There really is no need to have him around anymore with three backs already on the roster that can give you solid production. Tolbert’s contract was a four-year deal worth $10 million.