Jonathan Stewart needs to be traded. Not because that would benefit the Carolina Panthers (even though it would), and not because Carolina is an awful place to play professional football.

No, his motivation should be purely selfish, and as we discussed yesterday, there are times when a player needs to be selfish. Even if it’s ultimately a futile attempt, Jonathan Stewart needs to request a trade because it’s in the best interests of Jonathan Stewart.

But despite his burial in a time share with the overrated and overpaid DeAngelo Williams, and the Panthers’ signing of Mike Tolbert this offseason, Stewart has no motivation to move elsewhere as we head into training camp. He’s good, or so he says.

Tell us more, Jonathan:

“There’s no reason why I would want to leave as of now. With that being said, I’m a Panther and I intend on being one.

“I’m not an agent. I’m not a GM. I’m not an owner. I’m not a coach. I’m a player. So what a player does is prepare himself to play football games. So no matter what happens, I’m ready.”

That’s not all a player does in this league. Not at all.

A wise player capable of gauging the market and knowing the realities of his position needs to have a bit of foresight, and put himself in a position to maximize his talents and value. Stewart is entering the final season of his rookie contract and is set to earn $1.3 million, and before he plays out that year he should want to be somewhere else. Making that a reality may be difficult, but it’s Stewart’s lack of desire to move that’s odd. He should want out now, because if he remains in Carolina his production will be limited, and so will his value on the open market.

After a year when Stewart had only five games with 60 or more rushing yards while averaging a career-low 47.6 yards per game on 761 yards overall, his value is already low. He’s supposed to be a short yardage and goal-line bruiser, but he only scored four touchdowns last year, and now Tolbert has arrived to vulture those carries.

Williams was mediocre at best and had just 52.3 yards per game last year, but his ludicrous contract (five years with $43 million, and $21 million guaranteed) means that he’ll still receive a large percentage of the carries, and will never allow Stewart to be the featured back.

Until there’s a major training camp injury, there’s little Stewart can do right now, because the time for trading and roster alignment is done. But hopefully his words yesterday were just some pleasant PR gibberish, because if he truly wants to remain with a team that has two other RBs locked up through the 2015 season, he doesn’t understand the fleeting existence of the NFL running back, and his need to cash in now at the age of 25.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • We’re heading into the weekend with Drew Brees still unsigned, and he still reportedly wants $10 million more in guaranteed money than what the Saints are willing to give. Be very scared that Monday at 4 p.m. ET our Earth will begin to descend into a dark, never-ending abyss. [Andrew Brandt]
  • Arian Foster: still the best NFL player on Twitter. [America is rising and grinding]
  • Shawne Merriman had no idea that Tila Tequila was bisexual. Opportunity = missed. [The Big Lead]
  • A Cajun dude spray painted in gold while giving the finger and protesting Roger Goodell? Yes please. [KSK]
  • Jim Irsay has predicted that Andrew Luck will be signed by training camp. In related news, Jim Irsay isn’t a good negotiator. Not at all. [PFT]
  • The Jets signed some dude named Tim Tebow, and to justify that signing they’ll surely be running some kind of wildcat wizardry. That means more running, and when they’re running more, Santonio Holmes will be getting the ball less. LaDainian Tomlinson thinks–no, knows–that will lead to a very unhappy Holmes. [WFAN]
  • Like any QB battle, the fight between Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson needs to end as quickly as possible in training camp so the offense can gain some stability. [12th Man Rising]

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