January 1, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart (28) scores a second quarter touchdown against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-US PRESSWIRE

Carolina Panthers Running Back Jonathan Stewart Signs Long-Term Contract

Jonathan Stewart signed a five year, $36.5 million dollar contract today according to a tweet from the Panthers organization.

General Manager Marty Hurney said “We are thrilled to be able to extend Jonathan for five additional years. He is a perfect fit for our organization,” in a statement the team released. “He is a playmaker who can make the difference in games, and we have seen the impact he and DeAngelo Williams have had on our team.”

Indeed. Both backs ran for over 700 yards and had matching average 5.4 yds/carry in 2011. That’s huge. Their totals were no doubt a bit less than they would have been had Cam Newton not been the running threat everyone knew he was coming out of Auburn.

Stewart has missed only 2 ball games in his four years in the NFL and has amassed exactly 3,500 yards with a very impressive 4.8 yards per carry over his career. He has 81 receptions for 702 yards as well, making him a dual-threat back. 41 of those catches came last year alone.

Remember, he’s done all this while sharing the load with DeAngelo Williams and had his best statistical season in 2009. Stewart had 1,133 yards rushing on only 221 carries that year.

$22.5 million of the contract is guaranteed, demonstrating that the Panthers are committed to having him around for the balance of his productive NFL seasons.

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