we want stew. we have the cap space for stew. stew wants us.
i fail to see a reason for anything but optimism here
I am optimistic, but due to the circumstances let's not try and act like Stewart is a sure bet to stay here, or that D-Will is a sure bet to stay here. Barring injury, the only thing that I would be willing to bet on is that Tolbert will be here in 2012 with either D-Will or J-Stew. Do I think that we can keep Williams and Stewart? Hell yeah.
While you are correct. History has shown that players start to slow down once they hit 30 (excluding Qbs). With that said, who wouldnt want to have a 26 year old RB with fresher legs (stew's age next season) over a 30 year old RB with not as fresh legs (D-will next year)?
Yes, RBs especially hit a wall near 30, and I believe that it's kind of naive for some (Rayz) on here to think that age will not have an effect on Williams, regardless of perceived lack of mileage. I am 45 and still in relatively good shape (even to the point where people are sometimes surprised that I am in my 40s, but I can tell you that it's not only a physical thing that causes a decline, but the mental challenge is a bitch also. Physical jobs take their toll, and football is about as brutal a job that there is (other than fighting) on your limbs, cartilage, tendons, bones, etc. D-Will is a gamer and I expect to see a couple of more relatively high productive years out of him, but the decline has already started (even if it's near imperceptible). No disrespect to D-Will, but Stewie is now the alpha dog, and apparently Hurney made plans for this impending evolution.
Moreover (especially in light of the way D-Will's contract was structured), I absolutely think that Rivera is not going to let Stew go anywhere because he saw what happened in San Diego with Michael Turner and Ladanian Tomlinson. Of course hindsight is always 20:20, but the chargers should have never let Turner get away in order to keep an aging Tomlinson. In our case, it is much more evident that if it comes down to a choice that there really isn't a choice: Stewart is our guy.
As for money, Stewart can probably get paid big in free agency, and I would think that unless he is just one helluva special man, he is gonna want to get paid his worth. Could I see him giving a hometown discount? Yes. But I think he would have a hard time leaving millions on the table and/or an opportunity to carve his legacy into NFL history. Perhaps a belief that the Lombardi will be here in Carolina, along with a most lucrative pay-day that is in the neighborhood of D-Will's money will be the determining factor that keeps him a Panther.