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Jonathan Stewart released by Carolina Panthers; likely on Buffalo Bills’ radar

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The veteran running back is a likely candidate for the Buffalo Bills to pursue

The Carolina Panthers announced that they are releasing veteran running back Jonathan Stewart. During his decade in Carolina, Stewart amassed 1,699 carries for 7,318 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and 51 touchdowns. Stewart’s yards per carry average has fallen off the last two years, with 3.8 and 3.4 yards per attempt in his last two respective seasons. The Panthers are likely looking to commit to second-year back Christian McCaffrey.

The Buffalo Bills reportedly hosted running back Chris Ivory on Monday. Buffalo appears to be looking to add a complementary back for the always elusive and dangerous LeSean McCoy in the form of a hard-running bruiser. At 6’0” and 222 lbs., Ivory certainly fits that mould. Jonathan Stewart would fill a similar role in Buffalo, checking in at 5’11” and 235 lbs.

Ivory’s yards per carry the last two years were identical to Stewart’s, and finding statistical separation between the two in recent years is challenging. Ivory arguably has been the better receiving back, while Stewart has more touchdowns to his name between 2016 and 2017.

It would surprise no one if the Bills were to give Stewart a look based on the Ivory similarities alone. As readers have likely read once or twice, general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott’s previous employer was the Panthers, and he is likely more familiar with Stewart as a result. And if all of this weren’t enough reason to take a peek in the now-former Panther’s direction, his past year salary is a compelling argument. Ivory was paid $4.5 million in 2017, which was a bit higher than the $1.1 million Stewart collected.