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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Steve Smith Released by the Panthers

Thirteen year veteran wide receiver Steve Smith was released by the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday. The five-time Pro Bowler and two time first team All Pro spent his entire career with the Panthers. Smith will turn 35 before the start of next season.


Smith is like every other aging star in the salary cap era of the NFL. He can either accept a pay cut or be cut. Because of his name and recent productivity, a team thinking he has a good year or two remaining will pay him more than he would have been offered to stay with his former team. Regardless of what happens, he will always be associated with the Carolina Panthers.
Being a fan of the New Orleans Saints, who have been burned by Smith many times over the years, I should be celebrating. But the departure of a worthy adversary in sports is always a somewhat bittersweet occasion. It changes the context of the divisional rivalry with the Panthers for the Saints (and other divisional foes) and their fans.


It is my sincere hope that Smith catches on with another contender. His production did dip in 2013, but he was still an effective threat.  Realistically, Smith has 2 to 3 productive years remaining in his career. There are plenty of teams in contention that could use a tough, veteran, wide receiver with some gas left in the tank.
Steve Smith is a potential Hall of Famer. He has over 800 receptions and over 12,000 receiving yards in his career. He will be an asset to the next team to sign him. However, his release is a cold but fair example of how not even the toughest among us can defeat Father Time.

Saints fans like myself won't miss this.

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