The Carolina Panthers have signed veteran running back Jonathan Stewart to a one-year contract extension on Friday, keeping him with the team through the 2018 season.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Stewart, who has spent his entire nine-year NFL career with Carolina, had a team-high 824 yards and nine touchdowns on 218 carries last season.
General manager Dave Gettleman said the Panthers extended Stewart at an age when the production of many running backs declines because “he can still flat out play.”
“A couple of weeks ago I sat back and watched every one of his snaps,” he said. “He’s still playing at a very high level. You guys know my offseason philosophy. It’s really about setting up your club so that in the draft you can take the proverbial best player. I really feel like we’ve done that.”
Gettleman didn’t rule out the Panthers taking a back with the No. 8 overall pick, but securing Stewart had nothing to do with that or giving the team cap relief.
Stewart was set to count $8.25 million against the cap before the extension.
“He’s like a fine wine right now,” Gettleman said of Stewart. “It has nothing to do with cap relief. Jonathan is still playing at a very high level.”
“It means a lot. This is a special place,” Stewart said Friday. “… I’m not satisfied by any means. Last year was disappointing. We just have to get back to the mindset of winning, and it’s really about the little things.”
Stewart ranks second in franchise history with 6,638 rushing yards — averaging 4.42 yards per carry — and has 51 total touchdowns.