Mike Tolbert Re-Signs with Carolina Panthers

Mike Norris@@MikeNorrisBRFeatured Columnist

Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert (35) runs against Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane (20) during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Bob Leverone/Associated Press

Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert won't be heading toward the open market this offseason after agreeing to a new contract with the Panthers.

Bryan Strickland of Panthers.com noted Tolbert signed a two-year contract on Wednesday morning.

NFL Network's Rand Getlin first reported on March 6 that the Panthers and Tolbert's representatives "have been in discussions regarding a potential extension."

Tolbert was adamant that staying in Carolina next year is his top choice when asked on Feb. 3 during a Super Bowl media session about his future, per David Scott of the Charlotte Observer:  

Absolutely. We’ll take care of all the business aspects of my contract after the season. I would love to stay, but you never know what happens. We’ll see.   

These guys are my brothers. I don’t want to leave any more than the next guy. But I have to do what’s best for my family and for me. If moving is part of it, then that’s a part of it. But I don’t want to.

The 30-year-old is one of the best fullbacks in the league, but he can run the ball as well as block. In four years each with the Panthers and the San Diego Chargers, he has racked up 2,288 rushing yards, 1,711 receiving yards and 44 total touchdowns.

Per Scott, he was surprised to hear the Washington Times reported 10 NFL teams don't even carry a fullback on the roster anymore.

“That’s ridiculous,” Tolbert said. “You look at me, (Atlanta’s) Pat DiMarco, (Green Bay’s) John Kuhn...we’re more than just fullbacks. We block, catch, run, pass protect, play special teams. So to not include a guy because he does too much, that’s a little bit asinine to me.”

He can definitely do that and more. The two-time Pro Bowler fits in well with a Panthers team that is solid from top to bottom on both sides of the ball. Scott wrote about what Tolbert brings to the team:

Since coming to the Panthers from the San Diego Chargers in 2012, Tolbert has continued to emerge as one of the NFL’s top fullbacks. He has been his usual versatile self this season, serving as a reliable blocker and special-teams player while rushing for 256 yards and a touchdown and catching 18 passes for 154 yards and three more scores.

His versatility adds one more player opponents must deal with in addition to MVP quarterback Cam Newton and all of his other offensive weapons. The Panthers were likely in the driver's seat when talks of a new deal began considering Tolbert's position is not as in demand as others and the fact he has made it known Carolina is his top destination.