Jonathan Stewart pulling for Panthers to sign DeAngelo Williams

The way Jonathan Stewart sees it, the Carolina Panthers are a better team if they retain DeAngelo Williams.

But Williams will be the premier running backs available in free agency, and there’s no guarantee he’ll return to a team that has changed its coaching staff after winning only two games in 2010.

Williams missed more than half of last season with a foot injury, but when the Panthers have been right, he and Stewart have carried the load.

“Oh, yeah,” Stewart said when Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer asked him if he wanted Williams back. “So once they get this deal done I'm pretty sure the organization would like to keep the duo going. I mean, if it's not broke, why fix it?”

Stewart and Williams were the first backfield duo to rush for 1,100 yards in 2009 but the Panthers have another productive back in Mike Goodson. Do they invest big in Williams when there are so many other positions to address? Or do they realize with a rookie quarterback they need to do everything they can to support Cam Newton with a quality running game?

It will be interesting to track how the situation unfolds. We know what Stewart is hoping for – he wants Williams back.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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