At 0-3 and committed to a rebuilding year in what could be John Fox’s final season as head coach, the Panthers might be wise to trade receiver Steve Smith in order to get something now for him while they still can.
Actually, Smith doesn’t become a free agent until 2013, so the Panthers have plenty of time to trade him if they inevitably choose too. But at 31, it’s not like he’s getting any younger and his trade value may never be higher than it is right now.
Carolina isn’t going anywhere this season with the amount of offensive line and quarterback issues they currently have. Thus, Smith is useless to this current team (he’s still a dynamic talent, but what good is he if nobody can get him the ball?), which is why Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer thinks the solution might be to trade him now.
Sorensen mentions Minnesota as a possible landing spot, which would be a perfect fit. But there are other teams that could definitely use Smith’s services, too.
The Seahawks are in first place in the worst division in football, but they’re desperate for a receiver after not pulling the trigger on Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson over the past couple of months. The Titans are high on Kenny Britt, but they could use another weapon in the passing game, as could the Steelers unless they’re completely sold on Hines Ward and Mike Wallace as their top guns. (I’m certainly not suggesting Ward or Wallace can’t get the job done, but I’m just throwing the idea out there.)
The wildcard is Atlanta, who has Roddy White but doesn’t have that complement at the No. 2 wideout position. Michael Jenkins is a terrific blocker but he isn’t a threat in the passing game and Harry Douglas is best left in the slot. Teams don’t usually trade within the division, but after the Eagles dealt Donovan McNabb to the Redskins this offseason, nothing would surprise me.
As of now, this is all just speculation. The Panthers haven’t given any indication that they’re ready to put Smith on the trade block and for all we know, he’s going to finish out his career in Carolina. But given the current state of the franchise, it’s an interesting thought.