Jason Avant met with the Panthers on Monday and signed a one year deal yesterday. The Panthers are starting to pile up old bodies at receiver. Jericho Cotchery is 31 and Jason Avant is 30. Neither receiver can still contribute the way Steve Smith could. Ron Rivera made the argument that the Panthers receivers only averaged 10 catches a game last season so that’s all they will need from their receivers this season. That’s a load of BS. The Panthers struggled down the stretch due to a lack of playmaking from the receivers. The only one who made plays in the San Francisco playoff game was Steve Smith and he did it playing injured.
It is clear that the release of Steve Smith was less about his ability to produce and more about his relationship with Gettleman. Gettleman and Rivera stated that they want to be able to get more catches to their younger receivers (McNutt and King), yet they keep signing old receivers who are going to bury the young ones on the depth chart. Clearly Gettleman did not appreciate Steve and forced him out the door. I will certainly be following the Ravens all season to see how Steve fares in Baltimore.
Look for the Panthers to draft at least 2 receivers in the draft this year. It is unlikely Gettleman will select a receiver in the first round, but if he is the best player available, Gettleman will pull the trigger. When it is all said and done, Steve will more than likely sign a one day contract with the Panthers and retire in Charlotte. Until that day comes, let us hope the Panther do not have to play him beyond this season.
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