NFC South Notes: Panthers, S. Smith, Martin

Here’s tonight’s look at the NFC South:

  • As much as Panthers fans would love to see it happen, there’s no way that Steve Smith is coming back to Carolina via trade, David Newton of writes. The Panthers opted to release Smith back in March of 2014 and Newton notes that nothing has really changes since then. GM Dave Gettleman was concerned that the aging wide receiver couldn’t maintain his productivity over the course of the season and last year he was proven right as Smith slowed down towards the end. Smith was also cut because he was sometimes a disruptive and divisive force in the locker room. Not only do the Panthers clearly have some issues with Smith, but they’re also sitting at 6-0 even without a true No. 1 wide receiver.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap looked at some of the top unrestricted free agents this season at the running back position, including Buccaneers back Doug Martin. Martin has surprised many with his play thus far in 2015, averaging 90+ yards per game and putting himself on pace to crack 1,400 yards on the year. Martin will have to convince teams that his resurgence is not the byproduct of playing in a contract year and while that could be tough, Fitzgerald could see him entering free agency with stronger credentials than C.J. Spiller and Mark Ingram, tailbacks who signed for ~$4MM/year. All in all, Fitzgerald projects that Martin coudl sign for $20-22MM over a four year period.
  • The Bucs may be promoting wide receiver Adam Humphries to the active roster to replace the injured Louis Murphy, according to Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune (on Twitter).
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