Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith has had a rebirth since the team took Cam Newton with the number one overall pick back in 2011 NFL Draft, by going back over the thousand yard mark in the last two seasons in a row. However I think that’s all going to change this year.
At age 33, Smith should begin to and embrace passing the torch to either Brandon LaFell or if they draft another wide receiver in the NFL Draft in April. Also despite these two resurgent years, Smith only made the Pro Bowl in 2011, and wasn’t even an All-Pro that year.
Smith owns nearly all the franchise receiving records for the Panthers, including catches, touchdowns and yards (just to name a few). He also has a NFL record with a 51.0 yard punt return average in 2002 versus the Cincinnati Bengals. In the Super Bowl run, he had the second most receiving yards in a single postseason with 404.
Steve Smith has a contract that will run through 2015, however if his decline does in fact occur, the Panthers would be wise to cut losses and keep on building for the future with younger and larger targets for Cam Newton, to keep him growing as he’s the face of the franchise now and will be for years to come. This all being said, he is a great person and is a partner in Athletes United for Youth, a charity organization that provides educational, programmatic, and structured support to youth housed within under-served communities.