The Carolina Panthers are going to waive Steve Smith as rumors are turning into realities. Steve Smith’s agent, Derrick Fox, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he believed Smith had played his last snap with the Carolina Panthers. Steve Smith rumors began with trade talk during the NFL combine and ramped up as NFL free agency approached this week.
As Steve Smith ages, the Carolina Panthers waiving their best wide receiver is not a terrible football decision. However, it is a very emotional one for Panthers fans. Smith had been the face of the Panthers for most of his 13 year career. With the arrival of Cam Newton, Smith took a back seat, but became the favorite target of the new star in Carolina. For the Carolina Panthers to waive Steve Smith shows a desire to move in a new direction.
The only constant over the last 13 years and the greatest Panther to play, I can’t believe Steve Smith is gone pic.twitter.com/rZl68rIMyg
— Peter Bowden (@PeterBowden8) March 12, 2014
Fox did confirm the rumors that the Carolina Panthers had been trying to trade Steve Smith. He added that no official action had been taken, but that the organization had made it clear that Smith will no longer be a Panther. They refused to restructure his deal and are willing to pay the $3 million Smith will be owed if they waive him.
— Sam Thomas (@samthomas2013) March 12, 2014
Of course if the Carolina Panthers waive Steve Smith, it leaves enormous questions about the future of the receiving corp in Carolina. Ted Ginn Jr. and Brandon LaFell were the only other receivers to gain any significant yards last season. Both are free agents and LaFell is expected to leave. In the absence of Steve Smith in Carolina, the Panthers have to decide to rebuild through the draft or free agency. As free agency goes wild, receivers are still available. The Panthers are rumored to be going after Hakeem Nicks.
Steve Smith is rumored to be heading to the Baltimore Ravens if and when the Panthers waive him. The Baltimore Ravens will probably need to replace their second best receiver in Jacoby Jones, who is rumored to be leaving through free agency. Steve Smith could fit into Baltimore easily and give them a much upgraded passing attack, as well as veteran leadership. The Baltimore Ravens finished the season 8-8 and missed the playoffs. Smith could help fix that.
If the Carolina Panthers waive Steve Smith, which team do you think should pick him up?