You guys are missing it. First Ivan, I don't have a problem with signing Stewart but it should be for his talent, not how good friends he is on the team. If you've read Marty quotes about the signing he has brought up friendship and how his personality "fits this organization". He said similar things about Jake Delhomme after signing Jake to 20million guaranteed post 5 int in playoffs game. We got rid of Kris Jenkins because he didn't fit our organization but you know what? Jenks was one hell of a DT, we still haven't replaced him.
Second, you guys make it sound like players getting along is some sort of rare occurrence we should be grateful for. Most players get along. We don't need to jeopardize the cap to keep friends together. In some cases conflict can bring out the best in guys when they are trying to get their touches. Steve is an example of a guy that mixes it up. Great player, but he can rub guys the wrong way.
Third, back to Ivan. We signed Thomas Davis to a massive contract after he missed one and a half seasons to injury. We did NOT sign that deal before injury. We paid him $1m in base and $7m in signing bonus. We effectively gave him $8m guaranteed when he hadn't played since 2009. Had we cut ties with him this spring that $7m signing bonus would have hit this 2012 season and destroyed our cap space. He could have used that as a bargaining chip to keep some of the $8m option bonus due this year but he helped us out and waived the option bonus. Still, with all that said he's a $2.25m cap hit right now for us. The contract he signed in 2011 was dumb. Had he played at a pro bowl level we still would have cut him because the contract was so bad. It was Hurney doing a solid for someone he admired. It didn't make football sense.
Again, I'm not saying it was wrong to resign Stew. I am saying friendship and to a degree character should not have much if any influence. There are plenty of guys out there that are good in the locker room that make better cap/football sense. (Tolbert for example). Character should be a pass/fail check box on every player. Not an attribute with weighted value.
Just because Hurney talks about Stewart's friendship in a interview doesn't mean that was his primary reasoning. Your looking to much into it. The primary reason was Stewarts talent and abillity, traits he mentioned multiple times after the signing.:
Hurney calls Stewart a "playmaker who can make a difference in games" and that "we have seen the impact he and DeAngelo Williams have had on our team."
"He's a valuable player for us. All you have to do is look at his production. I think you look at it as if you try to add as many weapons as possible on offense, regardless of position. And Jonathan and DeAngelo have proven to be a solid 1-2 punch for us. They have been a proven commodity, and we wanted to make sure we didn't lose Jonathan."
Hurney says Stewart's "multidimensional" skills are a huge help.
As far a the Davis contract is concerned you are mistaken on its severity .In 2011 after a year and a half of missed seasons he signed this contract:
It now runs through 2015, but there is protection built into this deal in case Davis can’t come back as something close to the player he was before the injuries.
The Panthers renegotiated Davis’ base salary this year down to $1 million, but they gave him a $7 million signing bonus right up front. That brings Davis’ cap figure down to $2.4 million for this year, after it originally was scheduled to be $3.8 million.
After his third injury, he further restructured with the team.