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.

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