Panthers give Steve Smith contract extension

The Carolina Panthers have secured one of the finest offensive players in the franchise’s history and freed up some salary-cap space in the process.

Wide receiver Steve Smith has agreed to terms of a contract extension through 2015 with an option for an additional season in 2016, according to Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weekly.

Smith was due to earn $7.75 million this season and while specific numbers are not available, the club was probably able to drive down that number for cap purposes. The team was very close to the limit. Edholm reports the deal is similar to the three-year pact Reggie Wayne received to re-up with the Indianapolis Colts.

Smith caught 79 passes for 1,394 yards and seven touchdowns last season and was instrumental in the development of rookie quarterback Cam Newton. That’s probably why the Panthers deemed it a good idea to make sure Smith sticks around for a while. His contract was set to expire after this next season.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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