Panthers to release Steve Smith, according to report

Steve Smith

Steve Smith

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers will release wide receiver Steve Smith on Thursday, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

On Wednesday, Smith’s longtime representative Derrick Fox told The Associated Press that Smith “is not going to play for the Panthers next year, I know that. I just don’t know when that transaction is going to take place.”

He said the Panthers have not asked Smith, 34, to restructure his contract, which calls for him to make $7 million under this year’s salary cap.

Despite releasing the five-time Pro Bowler, the club will have to pay him $3 million this season as part of the three-year extension he signed in 2012. Smith’s contract runs through 2016.

Also, Smith will count $5 million under this year’s cap. The team could designate him for a June 1 release, which would allow it to split that money over the next two seasons.

Fox said Smith, a 13-year veteran, would have preferred to finish his career with Carolina, the team that drafted him in the third round in 2001.

He said Smith was “disappointed and surprised” when Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman talked about the receiver’s future in uncertain terms at the NFL scouting combine last month.

“Where we are disappointed is the fact he signed an extension to stay loyal to the club and complete his career as a Panther,” Fox said. “That is why we did the long-term team deal. Now we are at a crossroads where the Panthers don’t want him anymore.”

Smith is Carolina’s all-time leading receiver with 836 catches for 12,197 yards and 67 touchdowns. He is 19th all time in receiving yards and 25th in receptions.

Fox said Smith plans to continue his playing career when the Panthers cut ties.

Source: ESPN

8 comments

  • JOE BLOW

    PANTHERS U JUST MADE A BIG BIG MISTAKE! POOR MANAGEMENT IS WHAT I SEE. WHY WOULD U NOT KEEP HIM INSTEAD OF HAVING TO KEEP PAYING HIM PER HIS EXT CONTRACT. NO WONDER YALL HAVE NO MONEY FOR GOOD PLAYERS. LOOK AT WHAT U HAD TO GIVE MR BOJANGLES WHEN HE WAS QB.HE SAT HOME EATN CHICKEN ON UR $$

  • Bob Jones

    I bet Steve’s so mad that he could just punch somebody. Better hurry though, since soon he won’t have any teammates left to attack…

  • Tim

    Good Luck Steven! Hope the Vikings pick you up so I can watch you dominate on my team! Cam Newton may as well give a prediction for a 3-14 season with the Panthers this upcoming season and him being held to a career low yards and rushing….Losing Steve Smith is going to haunt the club for years….he gave Cam alot more opportunity to pass and run because he was always double covered and left alot for Cam to pick through, so without a receiver like Smith, say goodbye to wins and hello to loses and interceptions Cammy Boy!!!! Huge mistake for the Panthers…karma a tough one, but wait for it Cam…you are a nobody without Steve Smith and the burden he took off you.

  • a man

    Steve was and still is a great player. However it is just time. 13 years is a long time in the NFL and he has lost a step. you cant dispute the stats and they have dropped for 3 years in a row. some say its double coverage but its the same double coverage he faced before that 3 years and with a mediocre QB in Delhome. Pro football is a business and in business you take risk. Some work out and some dont. I will always be a panther fan and while #89 will be missed as the leader he was, I think he should do as he said and retire a panther and go out, at least as a division champ. I will never forget the heart you played with Steve. Good luck to you.

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