The long and storied saga of Jonathan Stewart and his dynasty value took another turn yesterday as the Panthers signed Stewart to a new five year deal worth $36.5 million with $22.5 million of that being guaranteed. Carolina obviously sees the value Stewart brings to the table – after all, he’s posted 3,500 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns as a part time player in his four year career with the Panthers. This deal comes on the heels of them signing DeAngelo Williams last Summer to a deal with $21 million guaranteed money – that’s a whole lot of cash to shell out for one position on a football team.
So, now what should we expect?
Most dynasty owners were hoping Stewart would play out his contract this season and explore free agency at the end of the year. After all, he has elite RB1 talent and just needs a team willing to ride him like a true workhorse. Some even hoped the Broncos would be Stewart’s ultimate destination since John Fox is now their Head Coach and has always loved Stewart’s ability. That’s all in the past now as we know where Stewart will certainly be spending the bulk of his career.
The key to Stewart’s value is once again tied to DeAngelo Williams. Last Summer, the two were expected to be split up as Williams flirted with the Broncos and Dolphins before ultimately returning to Carolina to sign his mega-deal. The good news for Stewart’s owners is that the guaranteed money in Williams contract is up after this season. It’s quite possible the Panthers could cut bait with Williams after the year or ask him to restructure his deal. However, that’s no sure thing, regardless of what you’re reading today. Cutting Williams after the year would cost the Panthers over $4 million dollars and his base salary isn’t much more than that.
With Stewart, this is the latest move that clouds his future value. This is no death blow, though. He’s still a very serviceable player as a RB2 and would elevate quickly to a RB1 if Williams ever gets hurt or moves along. At some point, it’s bound to happen as Williams is now 29 years old and will be 30 before next season. The biggest concern dynasty owners should really have is the fact that Cam Newton is going to be around to take a lot of the rushing touchdowns away in Carolina.
From a dynasty perspective, this is no time to move Stewart. With this news, he won’t get you any more in return and it’s quite possible you’d be selling low. At best, you’d be selling at market value. Remember, he’s still just 25 years old. The best part of this entire scenario of Stewart re-signing is that we’re finally going to get a resolution on his value. Unfortunately, that’s going to come next Summer when the Panthers decide if they want to keep Williams and Stewart together for even longer.
Owners are simply forced to wait to see if anything changes. Again.