The previously rocky relationship between the Panthers and receiver Steve Smith is now so smooth that both sides have agreed to a deal that could keep Smith in Carolina for the rest of his career.
The Panthers confirmed to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer that they’ve extended Smith for at least four more seasons. Smith’s agent says the new deal goes through the 2015 season with an option for 2016. Smith turns 33 next month, so this deal could be the last contract he ever signs.
Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it is expected to cut Smith’s base salary for 2012 while giving him a big signing bonus that can be prorated over the length of the contract. That would alleviate some of the cap pressure on the Panthers, who are currently dead last in the league in cap space for this season and the only team in the NFL with less than $1 million in cap room.
Smith was set to make a $7.75 million base salary this year and to count $10.7 million against the Panthers’ salary cap. The 2012 season was the last year of his former contract.