Steve Smith has another two years and $14.75 million left on his contract with the Carolina Panthers, but it’s clear he would like to play for another team. His desire is fair; he is one of the top receivers in the NFL when healthy, and at 32 years old he probably wants to play for a Super Bowl-caliber team rather than a franchise in rebuilding mode. There has been speculation that he’ll be traded when the lockout ends and that the Chargers are a possible destination. While we don’t know what will happen, what we do know is that Smith is distancing himself from his former team.
First off, Smith has not been in attendance for the team’s recent workouts, citing personal issues. Since we don’t know what’s going on with him personally, it’s not entirely fair to hold his absence against him. However, Joe Person noted in an article on Smith that the receiver referred to Carolina as “they” not “we.”
“I think the fundamental things the Carolina Panthers are doing right now are huge. I think anybody to say they’re not making any moves would be unfair and biased. They’re making great changes.”
Distancing himself from the team by saying “they” indicates Smith’s current mentality, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t play with the Panthers if there is a season. It just means he doesn’t feel like he’s a part of the team, and that he likely wants out. We’ve heard the Chargers are interested in him, and if they’re able to land him in a trade, it will make an already explosive offense even more effective. I’m hoping for Smith’s sake that he’s able to get out of Carolina and onto a more competitive team.
Helmet knock to Evan Silva for the tip