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Chargers to pursue Panthers’ WR Steve Smith?

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith (L) is tackled by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Josh Wilson during an NFL football game in Charlotte, North Carolina November 21, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Keane (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Chargers are “monitoring” the Steve Smith situation in Carolina.

The Chargers’ interest, according to people with knowledge of the situation, can be characterized as monitoring and wait-and-see. That is comparable to how they went about signing free agent safety Bob Sanders in March, letting other teams woo Sanders before making an offer to a player who wanted to be a Charger.

Teams are not allowed to conduct player business during the ongoing NFL lockout. But the Panthers were known to be shopping Smith prior to the league’s shutdown on March 11.

The Chargers landing Smith could be a product of his wanting to play in a good offense, close to his Lynwood, Calif., birthplace coupled with the team’s need for a top-flight receiver.

Smith has already cleaned out his locker in Carolina, put his house on the market and has let the Panthers know that he would like to be traded to the Chargers, Raiders or Ravens. No word yet on if he plans to burn the words “Trade Me Now” into the grass at Bank of America Stadium, but there are rumors that that is his next step.

Smith would be a nice addition to San Diego’s offense and he would certainly appreciate working with Philip Rivers, who actually resembles a professional quarterback (unlike the puss that the Panthers have been trotting onto the field over the last couple of years). He would also benefit from playing opposite Vincent Jackson and not worrying about facing constant double-teams because he’s the only playmaker in the offense.

I’m sure I’ll revisit this story once the owners and players stop fighting over fans money.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Would the Panthers be open to trading Steve Smith this season?

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith stands on the field during a break in the action against the Washington Redskins at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 11, 2009. The Panthers won 20-17. UPI/Nell Redmond . Photo via Newscom

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.

Smith was worried he would be traded

I think Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith is one hell of a receiver. He’s a threat to take it to the house every time he gets the ball in his hands and he still finds ways to make plays when he’s double-covered. I’ve written several times in the past about how he is the Panthers’ offense.

That said, the guy needs a small reality check.

Following Carolina’s win over Tampa Bay in Week 6, Smith had this to say about his role in the Panthers’ offense:

“It’s bittersweet. We get the win, but I have a limited role. So, obviously, I see this game as showing I’m no longer an asset to this team. That’s all I got. My name’s Steve Smith and I stand by that.”

He’s no longer an asset to this team? Give me a break. Jake Delhomme has looked Smith’s way so many times throughout his career that I’m surprised the quarterback doesn’t have No. 89 tattooed on his retinas. Now all of a sudden Smith doesn’t feel like he’s an asset to his team?

Recently, Smith admitted that he was worried that Carolina was going to trade him at the deadline.

From Carolina Growl.com:

Steve Smith said he received several text messages from friends around the country about the possibility of him being traded to another team, one of those being the Miami Dolphins, prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline.

In fact, Smith received so many that he went as far as to contact his agent to see if there was any truth to them.

“I heard multiple teams I was going to,” Smith said during the team’s open locker session on Wednesday. “You hear the stories about waking up and being traded. You never want to be a guy who wakes up Carolina and hears there is a flight for you going somewhere else, so when you hear that you ask people. I asked my agent if there was anything going on. I got a few texts from different people in different states, so I had to make sure and investigate it.”

When contacted about the rumors, Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said they were completely false.

“We had no conversations with anybody about trading Steve Smith,” Hurney said.

Not that I’m Adam Schefter, but I didn’t read/hear any trade rumors involving Smith. Not one; not even from Profootballtalk.com, which makes up rumors on a daily basis around the deadline.

Maybe he wasn’t worried that he was going to be traded, but hoping that he would. Either way, the reality is that he is under performing, has a huge salary and is liable to punch one of his teammates during practice. Why would any team trade for him?

Again, I think Steve Smith 1.0 is a fantastic player outside of his slow start this year. But for some reason, his name doesn’t get mentioned enough when people criticize the other prima donnas in the league.

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