All of this talk needs to stop. Recent comments by the Carolina Panthers organization have suggested that the future of star wide receiver Steve Smith is currently up in the air. However, if the Panthers are serious about returning to the playoffs in the 2014 season, they cannot let Smith go. Just as Cam Newton is the current leader for the Panthers, Smith is one of the most important pieces in returning to the playoffs. He is one of the few offensive threats the Panthers have and gives Newton options down the field. Recent reports have suggested that the reason the Panthers management is unsure about Smith’s future is because of his large contract, and terminating his stay in Carolina would give them more money to work with during free agency. This would be a horrible decision on the Panthers’ part that would directly contradict everything the franchise is attempting to accomplish.
The Panthers have made it quite clear that they are in the market for a new wide receiver, ideally somebody to open up the field and grant Newton a new target across the middle. They have their eye on the NFL Draft (which should have some good prospects) as well as the free agency market. All of these efforts are for one purpose: to rebuild the struggling Carolina passing attack and try and help Newton along the way to becoming an elite quarterback. None of this is possible without Smith. While it is true that Smith is aging and he has lost a step or two since his youth, he is still the best option for the Panthers. Not to mention he’s their only option. In preparation for the 2014 season the Panthers need to build upon Smith. To do this, they need to add another receiver to discourage defenses from double teaming him and allow him to work the deeper routes. If Smith leaves, the Panthers would try to be committing themselves to rebuilding another star rather than taking advantage of the one they already have.