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NFL Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers Need to Limit Distractions, Focus on Free Agency

Steve Smith

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers need to work out a deal with Steve Smith, and they need to do it soon. This is not simply because he is one of the few offensive threats left on their struggling offense (regardless of what Dave Gettleman says) but also because the Panthers have much more important things to worry about. Distractions are one of the most detrimental things that can happen to a franchise, especially during the offseason. Distractions pull the organization away from the real problems and sidetrack much more important matters. The Panthers have real issues to worry about in the coming months, and Smith’s contract should not be in the discussions.

According to recent reports, both Gettleman and Smith have been commenting on the future of the receiver in Carolina, which is still very up in the air. Both men are at odds with each other, but this predicament should not even be on Gettleman’s plate. Worrying about a star receiver who should be a lock serves no positive purpose. The offseason is a very important time for the Panthers as they need to find ways to continue their winning ways in the 2014 season, and the last thing they need is making contract disputes with their only deep threat receiver.

So far, Gettleman has masterfully handled the Panthers’ offseason issues. He has already found a way to stretch the money and put a franchise tag on Greg Hardy, something no doubt made easier by Cam Newton‘s willingness to sign a smaller contract to stay in Carolina. Balancing a team with 21 free agents is something that would be difficult for any managing staff, but add on the pressure of coming fresh off a 12-4 season and you have an organizational nightmare. The Panthers are not a sinking ship, but they are a ship with more than a few holes. Not only should Smith not be adding more holes, but he should be patching them up. Creating extra media buzz is not something Gettleman or the Panthers’ need. With their 29th best passing offense last year, keeping Smith should be a no-brainer. Clearly the Panthers have much more important things to worry about.