5 players the Panthers shouldn’t have let get away in franchise history

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Smith
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Smith /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Smith /

Steve Smith – Former Carolina Panthers WR

Steve Smith rapidly emerged into an icon and an indispensable member of the Carolina Panthers. The wide receiver came into the NFL with a big chip on his shoulder after dropping into the third-round and the former Utah standout was keen to make the whole league pay for overlooking his talent.

Smith might have been undersized, but he played with a fire within that was incredibly difficult to stop. His production was outstanding and cerebral, with many cornerbacks beaten long before they took the field thanks to the wideout trash-talking them into submission in a ruthless and merciless fashion.

The Carolina Panthers made a controversial move to cut Smith following the 2014 season. A decision that sparked fury among the fanbase after everything he gave the organization.

This also left a bitter taste in Smith’s mouth and it was only recently that he patched things up with the Panthers. He eventually moved onto the Baltimore Ravens, where he proved there was plenty left in the tank before calling it a day following the 2016 campaign.

The Panthers obviously went on a memorable run to the Super Bowl straight after Smith left the team. Had they kept faith with the receiver, then it might have made all the difference in the pursuit of a first-ever Vince Lombardi Trophy.