Panthers need depth at RB

After releasing DeShaun Foster last week, the big question is what will the Panthers will do at running back?

Although former first-round draft pick DeAngelo Williams, who averaged five yards per carry in 2007, is penciled in as a starter, the Panthers have made no secrets that they plan to add another running back.

But where will he come from?

There are rumblings the Panthers might be interested in Julius Jones, Derrick Ward and T.J. Duckett as a compliment to Williams.

The Panthers, remember, are in need of adding a free agent defensive end, so much of their free agent money could go toward landing a player there. However, one big name in Justin Smith was taken off the market when he signed with San Francisco.

And, of course, this is viewed as a solid draft for running backs, so the Panthers could look to land a top college back.

The Panthers would love to add a back with some size to offset the smaller, quicker Williams, but coach John Fox has said that signing a big bruising back is not necessarily a priority.

Carolina gave up on Foster, deciding to save $4.75 million under the salary cap by releasing him.

"It was a hard decision, but we felt like it was time to go in a different direction," said Panthers general manager Marty Hurney. "DeShaun gave us everything he had and did everything that was asked of him while he was here."

Foster was a second-round draft pick out of UCLA and showed flashes during his career, but injuries kept him from reaching his full potential. Foster, 28, never ran for more than 900 yards in a season and averaged just 3.5 yards per carry this past season.

Still, he ranks as the Panthers' career leader with 3,336 rushing yards and 851 rushing attempts.

He had more fumbles (11) than touchdown runs (10) in his six seasons with the Panthers.

"I very much enjoyed my time in Carolina," Foster said in a statement. "I can't thank the Richardson family enough for how gracious they were to me and my family. While I certainly will miss my teammates and friends in Charlotte, my quest for a Super Bowl ring is far from over."

The move will free up $4.75 million under the 2008 salary cap. However, Foster will still count $2 million under this year's cap because they need to account for the remainder of his prorated signing bonus.

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