For the first time in his long career, Steve Smith is getting set to change teams. After 13 years with the Carolina Panthers, the WR has been cut loose. Some reports say that the Panthers view him as a distraction, but regardless of whether that’s true, the main thing not in Smith’s favor is his age.
The reality is that the WR is set to turn 35 in May. I don’t care who you are, at that age, your body starts to fail on some level. The days of Smith being a bonafide No. 1 receiver are likely over. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t be a valuable contributor somewhere in 2014.
When it comes to Smith’s next team, the St. Louis Rams have reportedly emerged as a potential landing spot.
It was clear all last season that the Rams needed more playmakers on offense. Zac Stacy emerged from the backfield as the year went on and Tavon Austin had a decent rookie campaign as well — but the Rams were far from dynamic on offense. Obviously Sam Bradford‘s absence played a role in that, but we all knew they’d be in the market for some receivers this offseason.
So, does the aging Smith make sense for St. Louis?
I believe that he’d be a great addition. Not only is he going to catch around 60 passes, he’s also got the potential to be a great mentor for Austin. Both guys are small for the position and there could be a lot of value in having a teacher-student situation between the two.
Above all else, Steve Smith would just flat out make the Rams a better offensive team. He’s not going to be the player he was five years ago, but no one is at age 35. There’s gas left in his tank and he’s probably more motivated than ever now that the Panthers just told him he’s too old.