The Carolina Panthers are continuing to make moves to ensure they keep their roster of running backs intact. Brian McIntyre of Yahoo! Sports reported that the team restructured the contract of running back DeAngelo Williams on Wednesday.
Williams is entering the third season of a five-year, $43 million contract and had an $8.2 million salary cap number for the 2013-14 season. He'll get $5 million in cash this season, as it was before the restructure, but the way the deal has been restructured ultimately saves the Panthers $3.2 million against this season's cap.
The savings come in the form of a $4.75 million non-guaranteed base salary, of which $4 million was converted to a signing bonus which will go against Carolina's cap at $800,000 per season through the 2017 season.
As noted in the report, the bigger savings come over the final two years of Williams' deal. He was set to have base salaries of $5.75 million in 2014 and $6.75 million in 2015, with workout bonuses totaling $500,000. The restructured contract lowers the base numbers to $1.85 million in both seasons, with $750,000 escalators in both years and $300,000 in workout bonuses.
Williams should receive approximately $5 million over those two seasons, giving Carolina a cash savings of $8 million, and cap savings of $3.2 million in 2014 and $3.867 million in 2015. There will be some dead money over the following two seasons, but only $2.267 million.
Now that the financial side is out of the way, we can look at Williams' position within the organization. Williams had a down year in 2012, with just 737 yards in 16 games, with a per carry average of 4.3 yards. He's rushed for more than 1,000 yards twice in his career though, and the Panthers remain confident in his abilities. Jonathan Stewart was injured, and only managed 336 yards in nine games, but again, Carolina expects him to bounce back.
Quarterback Cam Newton actually led the team in rushing yards last season with 741. He'll do a lot of running going forward, but expect the Panthers to primarily stick with their bread and butter that is Williams and Stewart. One interesting note is that both running backs have now restructured their contracts this offseason, as Stewart agreed to less money in February.