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Panthers would have to pay Steve Smith up to $3 million to cut him


With the Panthers and receiver Steve Smith on a collision course, here’s an important fact to keep in mind: If they cut him, they’ll owe him up to $3 million.

Per a league source, $3 million of Smith’s 2014 base salary of $4 million is fully guaranteed. The guarantee voids only if a $3 million option bonus is exercised in June. And if the option bonus isn’t exercised, the team owes Smith a $3 million non-exercise fee on July 1.

It adds up to a total obligation in cap and cap space of $7 million for 2014. The Panthers can avoid $4 million of it by cutting him before July 1. But they’ll still owe $3 million in guaranteed base salary.

If the contract has offset language for the guaranteed money, the Panthers would get a credit if he plays elsewhere in 2014. Unless a new team will pay him more than $3 million, he’ll get a total of $3 million, with the Panthers picking up the difference between the guaranteed salary and what another team pays.

UPDATE 8:50 a.m. ET 3/11/14:  They owe him a full $3 million if he’s cut.  Smith contract contains no offset language.

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15 Responses to “Panthers would have to pay Steve Smith up to $3 million to cut him”
  1. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 10, 2014 7:13 PM

    There’s just not enough incentive to cut him. They need to play him or trade him, but they should have traded him in the past when it made more sense to do it then.

  2. orivar says: Mar 10, 2014 7:15 PM

    Well then. Your move Panthers front office. You’re free to do something stupid or do something really stupid!

  3. kane337 says: Mar 10, 2014 7:17 PM

    If he’s cut he’s a future Falcon

  4. snookau says: Mar 10, 2014 7:22 PM

    Why are they getting rid of him?


    And that’s coming from a Bucs fan.

  5. Mike Rigz says: Mar 10, 2014 7:25 PM

    There is no turning back now, Scuba Steve is as good as gone.

  6. miked12a says: Mar 10, 2014 7:28 PM

    Smith has $9 million dead money if he’s cut this season so wouldn’t that be his cap hit?

  7. Denver Geldings - Super Bowl Castration... AGAIN!!!! says: Mar 10, 2014 7:31 PM

    I am getting tired of anything related to Steve Smith. He is an aging veteran, of average skill level, (at this point in his career) with a big mouth, and a whiny attitude. All I ever hear about related to Steve Smith is this BS about respect. The front office disrespected me, wah. Talib disrespected me, wah. The Rams disrespected me, wah.

  8. wjarvis says: Mar 10, 2014 7:45 PM

    I think unlike some of the other large contracts that teams are willing to trade (Peppers, Johnson, etc), Smith has a much lower chance of being cut and hitting the free agent market. Mostly because of the $3 million that Carolina has to pay, either he’ll get traded for a late round pick before the draft, but if he’s not traded before this years draft, then all of a sudden he’s only $4 million for a great receiver. Now a team may give a slightly higher pick in the 2015 draft, or the Panthers may keep him, since you can’t replace him with another $4 million player.

  9. ytownjoe says: Mar 10, 2014 7:48 PM

    Say what you want but he’s got a great agent.

  10. thegreatgabbert says: Mar 10, 2014 7:56 PM

    3 mil? Not the unkindest cut of all, apparently…

  11. Jessica says: Mar 10, 2014 8:16 PM

    Chicago’s J. Pep for S. Smith straight up. Welcome home Pep adding to one of the leagues best D’s and would also make that Bears O next years Denver- type scoring team. Win-win.

  12. xinellum says: Mar 10, 2014 8:39 PM

    Baltimore could use his fire and his hands. A very interesting guy for the slot as he is still uncoverable if a defender can’t put hands on him. And for his size he is one of the toughest mofo’s in the league. I really love the way this guy plays football.

  13. blacknole08 says: Mar 10, 2014 8:52 PM

    The simplest solution:

    1) Don’t cut him.

    2) Get another big, physical WR to compliment him (Preferably Nicks, I don’t care whom, just anyone but LaFell)

  14. noleitup says: Mar 10, 2014 9:28 PM

    Steve smith deserves to play for a serious contender. Carolinas defense has improved greatly, I just dont think killacam can take them to the promise land

  15. vltrophy14 says: Mar 11, 2014 1:20 AM

    Must be nice. I wish my place of employment owed me $3M if they cut or fired me

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