Ask and you shall receive.
As it turns out, the backfield wasn’t as crowded as everyone thought – or at least the Panthers didn’t think so.
Shortly before the team’s preseason opener against the Houston Texans, the Panthers granted Stewart’s wish to stay put with a 5-year, $36.5 million contract extension, with $22.5 million in guaranteed money.
General manager Marty Hurney said Stewart was just too important a cog in the Panthers offense to let go.
“There aren’t a lot of places that have two highly-paid running backs,” Hurney said to the Charlotte Observer. “First of all, I think good organizations keep their difference-makers. And he’s a difference-maker for us. And we’ve proven that both of them can share the load and have a dynamic impact for us."
Stewart has been one of the most productive backs in the league over the past four seasons. The former Oregon Duck has racked up 3,500 yards rushing, 702 yards receiving and 29 total touchdowns since his rookie season in 2008. For his career, Stewart has averaged an incredible 4.8 yards per carry, including a 5.4 yards-per-carry average last season.
Stewart’s durability is the only thing as impressive as his productivity. Despite his punishing running style, the 25-year-old has missed only two games in his entire career (both in 2010).
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