On the surface, Carolina's signing of free-agent running back Mike Tolbert doesn't seem like that big a deal.
The Panthers already have two good running backs in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. It's easy to look at this one and say, the Panthers simply are upgrading their No. 3 running back spot with Tolbert replacing Mike Goodson.
But I don't think this is what that move is all about. Tolbert was brought in to be the No. 2 back behind either Williams or Stewart.
John Fox isn't coaching the Panthers anymore, so the days of them collecting three or four backs and playing them extensively are over. Heck, there weren't even enough carries to go around for Stewart and Williams last year, when coach Ron Rivera arrived and brought along offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. Rivera and Chudzinski both previously worked in San Diego and that's where Tolbert spent the past four seasons.
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