Why would a good free-agent running back want to join a team loaded with them? And for less money.
Conversely, why would that team even want him?
NFL followers were scratching their heads Monday when the Carolina Panthers signed Mike Tolbert, a free agent running back from San Diego.
The Panthers were offering Tolbert $1 million less than the Chargers, according to reports.
In a release, GM Marty Hurney explained Carolina's thinking.
"Mike is a very versatile player who can do a lot of different things for us," Hurney said. "He plays fullback, catches the ball well out of the backfield, plays running back, and is an outstanding special teams player."
Tolbert reportedly wanted to play under head coach Ron Rivera, who used to be defensive coordinator in San Diego, and with quarterback Cam Newton.
Tolbert rushed for 490 yards in 2011, and caught 54 passes for 433 yards.
The Panthers already have DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson in the backfield, although Goodson barely played down the stretch.
BILLS RE-SIGN WR
The Buffalo Bills e-signed backup wide receiver Derek Hagan Monday morning. The six-year veteran joined the Bills late last season, after the Raiders cut him. In four games with Buffalo, he caught 13 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown. In his career, Hagan has 109 catches for six TDs with the Bills, Raiders, Giants and Dolphins.
Another aging former star wideout, Plaxico Burress, is hoping to remain in the game. Burress was "in contact" with the Philadelphia Eagles, according to the NFL Network's Jason La Canfora ... Former San Francisco 49ers cornerback Shawntae Spencer agreed to a one-year contract with the Oakland Raiders ... The Patriots love them tight ends. They signed another, Daniel Fells, for up to $7 million over three years, per ESPN. New England also signed WR Donte' Stallworth (who was on the '07 team that went undefeated up to the Super Bowl), and OL Robert Gallery ... The Jets, who had practically run out of safeties, agreed to a one-year deal with LaRon Landry, formerly of the Redskins ... Free agent RB Michael Bush, an ex-Raider, is reportedly interested in Seattle ... Speaking of the Seahawks, head coach Pete Carroll told a Seattle radio station on Monday, per ProFootballTalk.com, that newly signed free-agent QB Matt Flynn is expected to do more than merely push incumbent Tarvaris Jackson. "We now have the opportunity to make it an open competition," Carroll said.