A year ago, there were reports that Panthers receiver Steve Smith was so unhappy with the team that he’d demand a trade and never play another down in Carolina. Instead, Smith had one of his best seasons in 2011, and now he’s poised to reach a new deal that could keep him with the franchise for another three years.
Smith and the Panthers are deep enough in contract talks that they should finalize a new three-year contract extension today, NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reports.
The financial details haven’t been reported, but the deal would likely give Smith a significant signing bonus and significantly cut his base salary, which would reduce some of the cap pressure on the Panthers. As of March 30, Carolina was dead last in the league in cap space, with less than $1 million available.
Last season Smith showed no signs of aging, instead looking rejuvenated playing alongside Cam Newton, starting all 16 games and catching 79 passes for 1,394 yards and seven touchdowns. Smith will turn 33 next month, so a three-year contract extension could cover the final three seasons of his career.