Just when it appeared as though 2013 would be DeAngelo Williams' final year in Carolina, the franchise's leading rusher has restructured his contract with the team.

The Observer's Joe Person confirms Williams has restructured his contract in a way that saves the Panthers $3.2 million in cap space in 2013 and potentially $8 million in cap space in 2014 and 2015, the final two years of his deal. The deal was first reported by Yahoo.com.

Williams, scheduled to earn $5 million in 2013 but carrying a cap hit of $8.2 million, will still earn the $5 million, but his cap number will reflect what he earns. His $4.75 million base salary and $250,000 workout bonus for 2013 was converted to an $850,000 base with a $150,000 bonus and a $4 million signing bonus.

That signing bonus is prorated through 2017 after the team stuck two "dummy years" at the end of his contract. Essentially, his contract will void at the end of the 2015 season, and the Panthers will have to account for $2.2 million in dead money in those two years.

The team is now $8.46 million under the 2013 salary cap.

Scheduled to make $13 million in his final two seasons, Williams' restructured contract will earn him $5 million, with the potential to earn up to $750,000 in salary escalators in each of those two years.

The end result: The Panthers could save as much as $8 million in cash while shaving $7 million in cap space in those final two contract years.

Williams inked a five-year, $43 million deal in 2011, but barely into the second year of that deal he saw his role reduced from starter to backup as the Panthers coaching staff handed the keys to Jonathan Stewart.