What could Ihmir Smith-Marsette bring to the Carolina Panthers in 2023?

The Carolina Panthers began roster cutdown day with an eye-catching trade.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette
Ihmir Smith-Marsette / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

What could Ihmir Smith-Marsette bring to the Carolina Panthers in 2023 after he was acquired via trade with the Kansas City Chiefs?

General manager Scott Fitterer is renowned for his aggressive approach when it comes to roster building. The front office figure has no qualms parting ways with players or draft capital in pursuit of progression, which was again evident throughout one of the most eventful offseasons in Carolina Panthers franchise history.

As everyone geared up for the most difficult occasion of the NFL calendar year - roster cutdown day - the Panthers kicked off proceedings by making another trade. One that could fill a big need if everything goes according to plan.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette brings explosiveness to the Carolina Panthers

The team confirmed that a deal was reached with the Kansas City Chiefs for Ihmir Smith-Marsette, a promising young wide receiver who can also provide assistance in the return game if the coaching staff sees fit.

It's been a rocky road for Smith-Marsette over his first two seasons in the league. The former Iowa standout lasted just one season with the Minnesota Vikings after being taken No. 157 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, finding his way onto the Chicago Bears and Chiefs thereafter en route to a Super Bowl ring.

Smith-Marsette caught the eye throughout Kansas City's preseason, emerging as the NFL's second-leading receiver over the three games and proving useful as an outside blocking presence. Of course, the dynamic traits he displays as an elusive returner are probably the main thing that provoked Carolina into this move.

There have been plenty of changes across the wide receiver room in Carolina this offseason. The Panthers included D.J. Moore in the trade package that landed the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, but injuries and questions about consistency mean the jury is still out in terms of substantial improvements.

Another thing the Panthers are lacking without D.J. Chark is legitimate speed. This was evident in Preseason Week 3 against the Detroit Lions, so having someone like Smith-Marsette to call upon boosts the explosiveness if nothing else.

His time with the Chiefs was exactly what Smith-Marsette needed to prevent his career from spiraling. There's been a different demeanor surrounding the weapon this summer after a significant period of adjustment, something the player believes is the start of big things ahead based on his comments via The Kansas City Star.

"First two (NFL) years were rocky. And just getting my feet up under me, going into my third one, and just having that mindset of knowing who I am and what I’m really capable of. And then just going out there and putting it out there on display … it’s been a hell of a ride. And this is just the start."

Ihmir Smith-Marsette via KC Star

One would expect Smith-Marsette to start at No. 6 on the wideout depth chart with a view to moving higher depending on the health status of some. In terms of the return game, he might be tasked with both punt and kickoff duties immediately.

This hasn't cost the Panthers anything more than a seventh-round pick swap in 2025. It's extremely low risk, but could provide a high reward if Smith-Marsette builds on the confidence gained working alongside elite-level performers such as Patrick Mahomes.

It's a journey into the unknown for Carolina. But it does not cost them anything to find out one way or another - even if this trade might spell the end for someone like Derek Wright and Shi Smith.