Panthers Release Steve Smith

4:23pm: According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link), the Panthers designated Smith as a post-June 1 cut, which will reduce the dead money on the team’s 2014 books, stretching some of that hit into 2015.

10:27am: The Panthers have officially released Smith, the team announced today (Twitter link).

9:55am: Before the Panthers decided to cut Smith, the receiver presented the team with five preferred trade destinations, a source tells Joseph Person. Those clubs were the Cowboys, Patriots, Ravens, Bucs, and Chargers.

7:12am: Unable to find a trade partner for Steve Smith, the Panthers will release the veteran wide receiver, according to Bill Voth of the SportsXchange (via Twitter). Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer confirms (via Twitter) that the move is expected to come later today. According to Person (via Twitter), Hakeem Nicks will be the club’s top target as they consider replacements for the longtime Panther.

Smith’s agent, Derek Fox, had suggested yesterday that his client’s time in Carolina was almost certainly over, noting that the club would likely release the wide receiver if he couldn’t be traded. When the move becomes official, Smith is expected to draw serious interest from the Ravens, and a report this week indicated that interest should be mutual.’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter) calls Baltimore the early frontrunner in the upcoming Smith sweepstakes, though we heard the Buccaneers and Raiders mentioned yesterday as likely suitors as well.

Assuming the Panthers don’t designate Smith as a post-June 1 cut, his cap number will be higher after he’s cut ($9MM) than it would’ve been if he remained on the roster ($7MM). As Person wrote yesterday, GM Dave Gettleman doesn’t view the move as a financial necessity, but thinks the team needs to part ways with the veteran receiver to let younger leaders like Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly take control of the locker room.

Smith, who turns 35 in May, is Carolina’s all-time leading receiver with 836 receptions for 12,197 yards and 67 touchdowns receiving. He’s also is 19th all-time in NFL history in yards receiving and 25th in receptions.

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2 comments on “Panthers Release Steve Smith

  1. Zack Sheffield

    This is a ridiculous move by the Panthers front office that is infuriating as a long time fan. If the move was “Steve Smith has been an integral part of our offense for his entire career and we will sorely miss him, but unfortunately the business realities have changed and his cap number is just not compatible with our plans for 2014. Nothing stays the same forever.” I’d be disappointed, but at least it would make sense (well, aside from the financials not actually making any sense, but anyway).

    Instead the GM is talking about “Steve Smith is a distraction”, to which the only response is “from the miserable state our receiving core is in without him?”

  2. RahZid

    That’s 1 cut that I just don’t understand. It cost more to cut the productive player than it would have to keep him.

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