Panthers G.M. Dave Gettleman risked bruising the ego of veteran wide receiver Steve Smith, when Gettleman wouldn’t commit to Smith’s future role with the team. Today came an opportunity to clear the air.
Smith met with Gettleman today, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. It was Smith who requested the meeting, as a result of Gettleman’s comments about Smith at the Scouting Combine.
“Steve’s had a great career. He really has,” Gettleman said last month. “None of us are here forever. But that’s not to say — he’s part of the evaluation process. That’s just the way it is.”
Smith would surely like to think there is no “evaluation” necessary, and that he’s still the Panthers’ No. 1 receiver. He would also surely like to think he has done enough in a Panthers uniform to earn the right to have the G.M. talk to him about his future privately before musing about it publicly.
On the other hand, Smith turns 35 in May, counts $7 million against the Panthers’ 2014 salary cap, and has seen his stats decline across the board two years in a row. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for the Panthers to think he doesn’t have much time left.