It was a busy day for the Carolina Panthers. First letting go of veteran DT, Paul Soliai. The nine-year vet barely saw the field this past season and it was obvious that he wouldn’t be back for 2017. The second move of the day wasn’t much of a surprise either. Mike Tolbert, who just finished up his 5th season with the Panthers, the third that ended with in the Pro Bowl. Beyond that Pro Bowl, this was by far the worst of his career. Finishing with career lows in both rushing and receiving yards. Beyond that, Tolbert was quite the liability as a blocker. As one of the last FB’s in the league, it was the base of his job and he wasn’t delivering.
Tolbert for a lot of great moments in Charlotte. Sadly, the moment that will stick out the most would be his two fumbles performance in Super Bowl 50. In what was a pretty close game, those two fumbles helped to make sure the Panthers wouldn’t complete the comeback. Like John Kasay and his Super Bowl blunder, some people are going to hold on to the negative. It’s not totally fair, but it what it is.
It doesn’t look like the Panthers are done shedding veterans and their deals. My guess is that we still see Ed Dickson and Gino Gradkowski cut before March 1st. There could also be some veteran surprises. But one player you won’t see getting cut is Jonathan Stewart. Some people will point to his massive cap hit and injury history. But I say don’t bet on it. Towards the end of the season, Stewart still showed pop and ran all over the Redskins. My gut says that Stewart will play out the final year of his deal and then most likely retire as the Panthers all-time leading rusher.
I don’t think that Tolbert has seen his NFL career come to an end yet. Someone will take a flyer on him and you should fully expect to see him in a training camp when August rolls around. I just hope that he keeps on dancing.
Stay tuned for our reaction as more cuts come down.