Carolina Panthers' Steve Smith Not Going Anywhere

Carolina Panthers Steve Smith (L) is hit by New York Giants Kenny Phillips (R) as he scores a touchdown during the second quarter in their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, September 12, 2010. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The latest developing topic is that the Panthers would be wise to trade wide receiver Steve Smith for draft picks or younger talent. While some might view this as a sensible franchise decision, I don’t think it’s further from the truth. In the offseason, Carolina unloaded almost all of its veteran depth. With it went leadership, playmakers, and contributors.

What veteran depth do the Panthers have now? Steve Smith and John Kasay. While there are younger guys coming into their own and forming a sense of leadership and taking on responsibility, these two are the remaining strongholds from the team’s only Super Bowl run.

To me, it seems ridiculous to even consider trading Steve Smith for draft picks or a younger player or two. What could the Panthers really expect to get in return for a guy who is sitting out with a high ankle sprain, and whose numbers have been less-than-stellar over the last couple seasons? Coupled with the receiver’s age, I don’t see Carolina making a high return on their investment by trading him.

Given the team’s options, the smartest would be to retain Smith. Once one of the younger receivers steps up his game, it will allow Smith to be more involved in the passing game. Since everyone at the position is a rookie, inexperienced, or new to the team, it will take some time and tweaking. But soon enough the Panthers will have what they’ve been looking for from the receiving core.

On another note, Smith is still a weapon when healthy, and when the quarterback is able to get him the ball. Some players who are considered a “weapon” really aren’t, but Smith is an exception. How many times have we seen what has looked like a breakdown or a dead end, but Smitty finagles his way through, around, or over it? He showed us in Week One he still has the ability to go somersaulting through the air and still make a gain of positive yardage.

As far as Smith’s production, while I did mention that his numbers have been less-than-stellar, that’s also something of an oxymoron. The result of his production has been due in part to poor quarterback play. Nonetheless, Smith still produced and rivaled his numbers from previous seasons.

This cat is here to stay. The franchise owes it to him. Some would say that the franchise owes Smith a trade to a winning team. But why? Smitty hasn’t asked to be traded. He also hasn’t hinted at wanting to be traded — if Smith wanted to be traded, he would have already come out and said it. He is a man who doesn’t mince words or hint around.

Be sure to check out Eric’s latest submission on the Carolina Panthers at NFL.com.

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  • jay

    I believe the panthers should trade smith. just for the simple fact that smith want to be one of the best WR in the game, and let be real here he not going to do that in Carolina. The front office threw in the towel they are not looking to win, they looking to rebuild and that’s takes at least 2 to 3 years. I really wanted Steve smith to get trade to the patriots, theirs a good chance now due to moss being traded. If smith stays in Carolina the most yards he’s going to get is 750. But in New England I bet 1200. Come on guys don’t be selfish I would rather let Steve smith shine some where else then turn into a wash up player here.

  • Eric Melrue

    I changed my mind about Smith not leaving Carolina two weeks ago. He needs a chance with a solid organization. Smith is brash, hard to get along with and an all around a-hole, but I love him.

    Just try to have a conversation with him. But hey, Smith is Smith and that is why he is so damned good. He eats rookies for breakfast and pees out hurt feelings in the locker room. Make no mistake, Smith had Clausen for lunch two weeks in a row and he is not done yet.

    At this point in Steve’s career (contrary to popular belief) he likes to be called Steve…Smitty is a name Jake hung on him and he went with it out of respect for the Cajun and for a while…but his name is Steve and if you get to know him and he will let know, really fast, to call me Steve or “eight-nine” not Smitty) Steve Smith is no position to be breaking in rookie qb’s. Clausen’s ego nor his left eye socket will allow him to be verbally assaulted by Smith for two seasons and walk away with a soul or his vision.

    Don’t get me wrong…Smith knows who he is and guess what? He knows it and is fine with it. Actually…that is what makes Smith…Smith. His “chip” on his 5’8 shoulder has made him very good and it is what drives him. Smith could give a damn who he plays for (he will tell you as much)…ask him about being traded and if he would mind it. His answer would sound like this, “I just play ball and run routes…I run the best routes that I can run and I will run them anywhere “THEY” tell me to go run them”….(They, being the hand that writes the check)…

    Give the man a qb who can throw. Clausen is all about mitigating mistakes and new soon-to-be Panthers 2011 head coddler, Brian Schottenheimer, is all about nursing rookie qbs until they can quickly read defenses and then toss hot routes. So, Schotty have little use for Smith and Smith will then be gone. But Smith deserves a team where he can have a qb and a solid wide receiver next to him and a place where he can get ring.

    Guess what at 31 Smith needs a superbowl, 3, maybe 4 probowls, 300-400 catches plus 5,000 yards of catches and he will enter the hall of fame someday. If he cannot get that in Carolina he needs to go, Smith knows this and eh wants it…

    PS, have you ever thought his agent may have thought of this before as well?

  • Mark

    I believe if Steve had a better QB to throw him the ball,and someone to take the double team off of him,he would have alot more yardage and alot more TD’s than he has now. And I’m sure other team managers are aware of this and would be willing to give up more than you think.

    Except for a few years,Steve has had to fight for everything he has got. Unlike other receivers in the league,who have been blessed with owners willing to do whatever it takes to win. I would really like to see Steve go somewhere that would give him a shot at a couple super bowls. We all know that won’t happen in Carolina,at least not in the near future.

    I love Steve,the way he never gives up and plays 60 minutes regardless of the score. He deserves more than what Carolina can offer him.