They’ll owe him exactly $3 million.
The contract omits offset language. This means that he can join another team, collect full compensation from that team, and keep the full $3 million in fully-guaranteed salary he’s due to pocket from the Panthers.
We revisited our information after Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer mentioned to our friends at WFNZ in Charlotte Tuesday morning that the deal doesn’t include offset language. He’s right; we missed it. “No offset language.”
While it won’t make it any harder (or easier) to trade Smith, it highlights the conundrum the Panthers now face: (1) keep Smith and pay him $7 million; (2) cut Smith and pay him $3 million; or (3) trade Smith and pay him nothing.
Maybe the trade should be Smith and a low-round pick — from the Panthers — to get another team to simply take that contract off Carolina’s hands.
Barring that, Smith will be able to apply a twist to his 2013 catch phrase: “Pay up, son. Pay up.”