Where's the money? Running back

A look at the running back position in my series on where the money is for the Carolina Panthers:

Total position spending: $16,496,600

Spending vs. league average: 2


Analysis: The only team spending more than Carolina at running back under the cap in 2014 is Minnesota, and $14.4 million of its $19 million is going to Adrian Peterson. The Panthers don't have anybody close to Peterson. If there's any position that has tied the hands of general manager Dave Gettleman, this is it. His predecessor Marty Hurney signed DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to huge, five-year extensions -- worth more than $80 million combined -- in 2011 and 2012. Gettleman has restructured both contracts since arriving a year and a half ago to lessen the hit, but both deals remain too big to justify releasing them or for anybody to seek them in trades. Stewart missed most of the last two seasons with injuries and neither back has rushed for more than 1,000 yards since they both did it in 2009, and that magnifies their price tag. The good news is Stewart finally appears healthy and Williams appears to have enough left in the tank at 31 that both can help a team that wants to run. As Gettleman has reminded, you never can have too many quality running backs. The Panthers actually have three with Mike Tolbert in the mix. But he, too, comes at a high price, albeit his $3.3 million cap figure doesn't sting quite as much compared to Williams at $6 million. The downside is the numbers are so out of whack from street value that the Panthers have had to sacrifice spending at other positions, such as the offensive line and wide receiver. The other downside: This will continue to be a problem through the 2015 season when Stewart's cap number reaches $8.3 million.