The Carolina Panthers’ all-time leader in receptions (836), receiving yards (12,197) and touchdowns (67) will be playing football in another city next season.
ICONSmith caught 64 passes for 745 yards and six scores in 15 games last season.
13-year NFL veteran and five-time Pro Bowler Steve Smith was released by the Panthers on Thursday, a move the team announced shortly thereafter. Smith was due a base salary of $4.0 million in 2014 while carrying a salary cap number of $7.0 million.
"Steve Smith has been one of the NFL's finest receivers for over a decade and has been the face of the franchise for a large part of the team's history," said general manager Dave Gettleman. "This was not an easy decision. As a team, we made a step forward last year; however, we are also a team in transition, which is a part of the NFL."
Smith is now free to sign with any team in the league, with the Baltimore Ravens expected to get involved in the bidding war.
The transaction leaves the Panthers with Tavarres King, Marvin McNutt and Kealoha Pilares as the team’s starting receivers, which means that if Carolina can’t land former New York Giant Hakeem Nicks via free agency, the team will likely use the draft to bolster quarterback Cam Newton’s arsenal.
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh
Check out our partners at TiqIQ for the best deals on all games on the 2014 NFL schedule.
JUL 30 Erik Oehler
The names are coming in, and in Buffalo, the waiting game begins.
JUL 30 Joel Corry
What will it take to get the Seattle’s top rusher back on the field?
JUL 24 Joel Corry
Offensive tackle Lane Johnson’s mistake will cost him close to $1 million.