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March 11, 2014

Steve Smith staying put in Carolina, at least for today

An hour after the start of the NFL's new league year and Steve Smith is still a member of the Carolina Panthers.

A league source told the Observer's Joseph Person the team will not do anything with Smith on Tuesday. This does not mean Smith will play for the Panthers in 2014, though.

NFL Network is reporting the team is still trying to trade Smith. A trade would give the Panthers something in return for the 14th-year wide receiver, but the team getting Smith would have to take on his $7 million cap hit.

The Panthers did not have to do anything with Smith at 4 p.m. when the league year began. The team can continue trying to shop Smith and get something in return rather than cutting him now, paying him $5 million to not play and leave. It's unlikely Smith would acquiesce to a contract restructure. 

--Jonathan Jones

Posted by Observer Sports on March 11, 2014 at 04:52 PM | Permalink


It's a mistake to let Steve go. While noting that his numbers dropped last year, you need to remember that Cam Newton has a serious issue with overthrowing everyone on the team. Perhaps Steve's numbers would be better if Cam were a better throw. He brings way more to Panthers football than a young jock that will take less money. Let's focus on what we need rather than letting go what we already have that's still good.

Posted by: Summerwhistler | Mar 11, 2014 5:11:41 PM

I'm beginning to wonder if Gettleman has paid attention to the out-lash in the past 20 hours on how impossibly stupid getting rid of Steve Smith would be? Or have the Panthers already broken our hearts once again with the apparent obsession with money as the bottom line?

My season tickets are already on the chopping block... This might be the last straw as to whether I bother supporting this team anymore. We'll stay tuned...

Posted by: Sam Vimes | Mar 11, 2014 5:19:21 PM

Every team has cut a 'fan favorite' player. Move on. IT'S a BUSINESS. All the people that say they will abandon the team will be watching come September. I for one am glad Gettleman has the balls to do what needs done

Posted by: martog | Mar 11, 2014 5:24:37 PM

1995 was a LONG time ago. Let the man go. He is not a #1, and maybe not a #2 at this point. We need real help to take this team to the level where it can have winning seasons two years in a row.

Posted by: Truth | Mar 11, 2014 5:25:14 PM

I agree. I love watching Steve Smith play. He made us proud to be a Panther fan even in the worst days. Now to do him like this.
It's not as if there is a salary cap issue or performance issue. It doesn't make sense to cut someone for no apparent reason in a position of desperate need.

Posted by: WhybeaPantherfan? | Mar 11, 2014 5:26:23 PM

Why isn't anyone stating the obvious? Smith, take a pay cut for the benefit of the team. You don't have to play anywhere else and can get a shot at the numbers you need to get into the HOF conversation. Geez.

Posted by: JoeFan | Mar 11, 2014 5:39:03 PM

Gettleman is an idiot.

Posted by: Robert Capers | Mar 11, 2014 5:42:29 PM


I would argue that there is a salary cap issue and performance issue. His performance last season was statistically no better than Lafells, yet he cost 7 times as much. People also seem to be forgetting that he finished the season with a knee injury. Combine that with his age, Smith will likely never have more than 5 TDs in a season again.

Also, if you are looking for a reason to be a Panthers' fan, you must not be looking very hard. Having Cam and Luke, two of best young players in the game, is a core that most teams can only dream of having. Not to mention that our head coach was COY. This is the best time to be a Panthers fan since 2003.

I love Smith, but I love having a winning football team more. If cutting ties with Smith gives us the money to bring in a young offensive play maker, as well as helps to secure long term deals for Cam and Luke next season, it is the right decision to make.

Posted by: PantherFAN89 | Mar 11, 2014 5:45:17 PM

OK, I'll bite. What is the business part? Because the business side all says keep him. He will cost $5 million even if they release him. That leaves $2 million. Who exactly are the Panthers going to get for $2 million that is a better player than Steve Smith?
If it's not a business decision, than the fans deserve to know what it is. No one can figure it out. He prepares and plays hard. He's a leader. H's a fan favorite. What possible reason is there to release him?

Posted by: WhybeaPantherfan? | Mar 11, 2014 5:47:21 PM

hmmmmm.......I pooped this morning.

Posted by: titts mcgee | Mar 11, 2014 5:57:27 PM

OK, PantherFAN89, I'll bite...

Putting so many cookies into the "Cam Basket" is simply way too premature. He hasn't yet proven himself for the long haul. Sure, he's exciting... when he's on - when he's not, he's overthrowing receivers on every pass and we're relying on the defense and a suspect ground game. Simple fact is that he's not yet the leader on this teams offense - Smith is... Dump him now with no one to fill the gap? Yep, I'll be pretty much done - I've suffered through too many of those "one step forward, two steps back..." It's just a whole lot easier to watch the Patriots or 49ers on TV than the perpetual heartache this team brings us. This is the tipping point for Gettleman - in fact for this whole team that held the entire city for ransom this year with all their new upgrades that none of us up in the upper stands will really care about. I for one won't have the first problem with staying home and deciding whether I keep the game on TV or not...

Posted by: Sam Vimes | Mar 11, 2014 5:58:18 PM

I don't believe this story for a second. There is no way the Panthers will trade him or cut him. Makes zero football or financial sense.

All this talk might be a ploy to get #89 to restructure his contract - or just to mess with his head and grow the chip on his shoulder.

Posted by: Iceupman | Mar 11, 2014 5:58:41 PM

Steve Smith will get snapped up in a heartbeat for more than anyone will pay LaFell. I don't recall a single time that the defensive gameplan was to shut Lafell down. It seemed every defense focused on Steve Smith, and his team mates, more often than not, failed to take advantage.

Posted by: WhybeaPantherfan? | Mar 11, 2014 6:02:24 PM

I dont think Gettleman cares what the fans think. He only cares about making the Panthers as good as they can be in 2014.

Posted by: Bob | Mar 11, 2014 6:13:42 PM

I love Smitty but why can't he take a pay cut like everybody else, also Smitty is untradeable base off his contract and age. The situation is a mess we need another wr an I think the gm wants to sign nicks which lessen the fans anger if Smitty is cut or traded. I am a panther fam first and I hope the gm do what's best for the organization not Smitty or Smitty love struck fans

Posted by: Teedog | Mar 11, 2014 6:14:36 PM

Smith will be a Panther unless they trade him which is unlikely. No way they cut him outright.

Posted by: Bob | Mar 11, 2014 6:15:21 PM

Keep Steve Smith! Have you lost your collective minds?! He is the heart, soul, pulse and blood flow of this team. Unlike Peppers, who Kris Jenkins called out and then we promptly let the wrong guy go. Unlike anyone else, Steve Smith is uniquely beautiful inside and out. You should actually be wondering where to put his statue you fools. What would Sam Mills say?

Posted by: Chris | Mar 11, 2014 6:15:44 PM


People tend to focus a lot on Cam overthrowing the ball, which he does, but his completion percentage was still better than most starters, including Luck, Brady, Bradford, Flacco, Stafford, Kap, and Alex Smith. He still has a lot of room for improvement, and has much left to prove, but he has earned a long term contract and the chance to be the leader of our offense.

But please, watch the Pats or 49ers if you want. I am sure you will be back if the Panthers have another winning season this year.

Posted by: PantherFAN89 | Mar 11, 2014 6:18:12 PM

You are spot on Bob. Hurney gave big contracts to undeserving players, and it left us in Cap Hell with a losing team. Winning is all that matters. No one is owed anything in the NFL, no matter how long they have been with a team.

Posted by: PantherFAN89 | Mar 11, 2014 6:21:15 PM

Well, Smith is owed $3 million whether we keep him or not.....
And will count at least $5 million against the cap if we let him go.

Posted by: WhybeaPantherfan? | Mar 11, 2014 6:28:28 PM

They already took his jersey off the website! Bad move for the team. we need his drive and his presence pushes the offense to play harder.

Posted by: Mike | Mar 11, 2014 6:33:31 PM

If they can get a 5th round pick for him then trade him. Heck even a 6th round pick i would take. As long as Smith is on the team he will expect to be the "lead dog" on the offense and he can't do that anymore. Cam needs to be the "lead dog" and Smith's ego will never let that happen. Trade him for a sixth round pick and use the cap space on a WR, CB and guard.

Posted by: Dom | Mar 11, 2014 6:37:05 PM


Cutting him would not free up a lot of money, but trading him would. Hopefully, someone offers a late round pick for him.

Posted by: PantherFAN89 | Mar 11, 2014 6:39:02 PM

Long time Smitty fan. His production has been going down for some time though. Time for some young guns to step up into the leader role. Smitty isn't the first fan favorite to possible play for a new team late in his career....Montana, Rice, Marcus Allen to name a few.

Posted by: kirkman | Mar 11, 2014 6:44:32 PM

smitty = slot receiver. Pick up a speed receiver in draft for the outside. use Smith experience to groom. every team needs veterans to teach these young ones. I'd take smitty now as a coach. we haven't developed many receivers have we?

Posted by: jp | Mar 11, 2014 7:06:17 PM

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