The Carolina Panthers locked up an important piece of their offense Saturday, signing running back Jonathan Stewart to a five-year contract extension. The deal is worth $36.5 million with a max value of $42.5 million and includes $22.5 million guaranteed, according to report from ESPN.com.
Stewart is entering his fifth NFL season in 2012 after being selected by the Panthers with the No. 13 pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. He's rushed for 3,500 yards and 26 touchdowns in his career, including a career-best 1,133 yards in 2009. While he has been effective throughout his career, Stewart has mostly shined in a backup role, starting just 13 games.
With the extension, the Panthers have locked up their backfield duo of Stewart and DeAngelo Williams long term. Williams signed a five-year extension of his own prior to the 2011 season.
"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," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement.
For more on Stewart and the Panthers, visit Cat Scratch Reader.