Panthers add bruising back Mike Tolbert

A deep backfield got a little deeper today as the Carolina Panthers have signed Mike Tolbert.

Bill Williamson of ESPN reports Tolbert receives a four-year contract from the Panthers. Carolina coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinksi obviously know Tolbert well from their time with the Chargers. According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the final two years of the deal come as an option that must be executed next year.

Tolbert is a physical and bruising runner who will now be in the mix with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Williams received a blockbuster deal last summer. Stewart is entering the final year of his contract.

Tolbert, 5-9, 243 pounds, looks like a fullback but he can carry the load from time to time. He’s also skilled as a receiver out of the backfield and that will mesh well with what Chudzinski is doing. Tolbert played collegiately at Coastal Carolina.

Now, the Chargers will have to find a complement to Ryan Mathews, who came on last year during his second season.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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