There seems to be a perception that if Steve Smith wants to leave, the Carolina Panthers have to let him. It doesn't work that way.
I know Smith wants to win. In alphabetical order, tell me the players that do not. The Panthers plan to win and, unless somebody makes a sweet offer, Smith will be obligated to help.
Yes, he's given the team everything he has. The Panthers, in turn, gave him an opportunity to become a star and while they patiently waited for him to become an adult.
I assume Carolina would consider a trade, which they'd have to make before the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in early March.
Although Smith is as big a diva as a 5-9 receiver can be, he also is Carolina's best playmaker. He's still an asset. He still can do things nobody else on the roster can.
There are two players the new coaching staff has to invigorate -- Smith and cornerback Chris Gamble. Gamble has long been the team's best cornerback. And them, seemingly overnight last season, he became a liablity. He's only 27.
The Panthers need the Gamble of old, and they can certainly use Smith.
Steve might go. But the decision won't be exclusively his.