The Panthers would take an immediate $7 million cap hit if they released Jonathan Stewart, who is scheduled to count $3.015 million against the 2013 cap. That’s largely because Stewart’s base salary is guaranteed for each of the next three seasons and only one year of his pro-rated money has been eaten up.
Releasing DeAngelo Williams, whose contract runs through 2015, might be the more practical way to go. Williams is carrying an $8.2 million cap figure for 2013. If the Panthers release him and designate him as a June 1 cut (and spread his hit out over this year and next) they immediately would clear $3.4 million in cap space for 2013.
DeAngelo Williams is a player we're watching closely this offseason. He finished with the 5th-highest FP/touch among RBs with at least 150 touches on the season. If Williams is out of the way, Stewart will likely go in the 4th or 5th round of fantasy drafts with Mike Tolbert vulturing goal line carries. The 29-year-old Williams could land elsewhere and be productive. He has a career 4.9 YPC and made some big plays in the passing game in 2012.