The days of Steve Smith as the face of the Carolina Panthers are over.
Smith, 34, was cut by the team on Thursday.
The move comes one day after the agent for Smith said that the wide receivers time with the club was nearing an end expressing disappointment.
“Where we are disappointed is the fact he signed an extension to stay loyal to the club and complete his career as a Panther,” Smith’s agent Derrick Fox said. “That is why we did the long-term team deal. Now we are at a crossroads where the Panthers don’t want him anymore.”
The #Panthers have released WR Steve Smith.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) March 13, 2014
In 13 seasons, all with the Panthers, Smith has caught 836 passes for 12,197 yards and 67 touchdowns. Prior to 2013 he had recorded back to back 1,000 yard seasons.
The Panthers are still on the hook for $3 million owed to Smith this season, additionally the team will be hit with $5 million in dead money by releasing him.
The Buccaneers, Patriots, Ravens, Cowboys and Chargers are all teams in which Smith is believed to have told Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman he would be interested in playing for. The Ravens are currently considered the favorites.
While the door closes on Smith’s tenure with the Panthers, it continues to be open for backup quarterback Derek Anderson.
Anderson will turn 31 in June but will return to the Panthers as the backup to quarterback Cam Newton. Anderson is not exactly going to lead anyone to mounds of success but he is one of the few backups available that would not completely embarrass themselves if forced into limited action.
Since the 2010 season Anderson has attempted just four starts. The Panthers will hope to keep that number in check this season. Cam Newton has not missed a start in his NFL career.