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Panthers announce Steve Smith has been cut

Steve Smith AP

Steve Smith is done as a Panther.

Smith, the receiver who has been perhaps the best player in the two-decade history of the Carolina Panthers franchise, was officially released today. The Panthers announced the long-awaited move on Thursday morning.

“When I took this position I knew that difficult decisions would have to be made along the way,” Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman said in a statement. “To move on from a storied veteran player is probably the most difficult of all. A decision not to be taken lightly. However, after much thought I feel very strongly it’s the right one. As I’ve stated many times, all decisions I make will be in the long-term best interest of the Carolina Panthers. Decisions, either popular or unpopular, have to be made for the greater good, and it is imperative to take an unemotional global view.”

The absence of Smith creates a big void at wide receiver, as Smith has long been the No. 1 receiver in Carolina’s offense. (Carolina’s No. 2 and No. 3 wide receivers last year, Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn, are both free agents.) He’ll be difficult to replace in the Panthers’ offense.

But the Panthers will have to replace him, and Smith becomes an unrestricted free agent who can sign with any team. Although Smith isn’t the same explosive player at age 34 as he was a few years ago, he can still help some team’s passing game. He may be motivated to pick an NFC team, and to stick it to the Panthers for letting him go.

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46 Responses to “Panthers announce Steve Smith has been cut”
  1. hakunamangata says: Mar 13, 2014 11:33 AM

    Step 1 complete.

    Step 2; Welcome to Baltimore!

  2. tyso4 says: Mar 13, 2014 11:33 AM

    Join the fun in Detroit.

  3. dickjagger says: Mar 13, 2014 11:34 AM

    Come to Baltimore Mr. Smith!

  4. bullethead527 says: Mar 13, 2014 11:35 AM

    Sad day,

    thanks for all your hard work, best panther ever!

  5. phidj10 says: Mar 13, 2014 11:35 AM

    What about the Chargers? They could use a speed guy and it was only a few years ago that they almost traded for him

  6. bbourne0 says: Mar 13, 2014 11:35 AM

    Gettleman just told the entire city of Charlotte to “ice up, son.”

  7. ravenmadnky says: Mar 13, 2014 11:36 AM

    I correct myself from an earlier post. Steve Smith will be a Raven by 4pm today.

  8. kaeptaincrunch says: Mar 13, 2014 11:37 AM

    One of the most stupid moves of the offseason.

  9. billsgiantsfan says: Mar 13, 2014 11:38 AM

    So who’s Newton going to throw to now? Hey, I hear T.O. is available!

  10. abfox112 says: Mar 13, 2014 11:39 AM

    Boo this man. This Gettleman that is. Stupid stupid stupid. Doesn’t save any money. Still have to pay him $5 mil. Sorry Steve. You will be missed.

  11. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 13, 2014 11:39 AM

    What a shame, this was the worst option of all exit strategies for such a great player. Tough break Carolina.

    And I think Gettleman has already made a lot of choices that weren’t in the long-term interests of the team. It’s amazing he still has a job and has the gall to boast about how right his decisions are. That’s the worst news for this team.

  12. spoilerfutbol says: Mar 13, 2014 11:40 AM

    9 Millions in dead money, this move doesnt makes sense.

  13. tolan04 says: Mar 13, 2014 11:41 AM

    He’s a cancer

  14. steelerben says: Mar 13, 2014 11:43 AM

    Carolina’s WR depth chart is now Brenton Bersin, Kealoha Pilares, Toney Clemons, RJ Webb, Tavarres King and Marvin McNutt. They better have some kind of plan.

  15. pantherfan40 says: Mar 13, 2014 11:43 AM

    Stupid move gettleman stupid move what are we doing now? We have basically no oline, no dbs and no recivers and no cap money this offseasons tough being a panther fan

  16. enoughofthatalready says: Mar 13, 2014 11:43 AM

    When the Ravens sign Smith who is now in his 14th year, they will declare Ozzie’s brilliance. Wait for it…………….Wait for it………….

  17. dwinsgames says: Mar 13, 2014 11:44 AM

    Nicks!

  18. judehart987 says: Mar 13, 2014 11:45 AM

    Easily the dumbest move I’ve ever seen this franchise make and we’ve had some pretty dumb ones. Anyone remember the Sean Gilbert deal? Sheesh.

  19. mjzaky says: Mar 13, 2014 11:45 AM

    Steve Smith should go to the Saints. Panthers showed no class in how they treated the guy who’s been the heart, soul, and backbone of that team for over a decade and I hope to see them fall to the bottom of the division for it.

  20. haterade999 says: Mar 13, 2014 11:45 AM

    Perfect fit for the Ravens slot position if he takes just above the vet minimum. Great WR with a winning attitude.

  21. bucfanforlife says: Mar 13, 2014 11:45 AM

    if he goes to new England this will be an interesting season, I wish he would come to tampa though

  22. pantherfan40 says: Mar 13, 2014 11:45 AM

    Steve hope the best for you I hope you go to a good team and win a superbowl. No matter what ill always be a steve smith fan

  23. jvw1982 says: Mar 13, 2014 11:47 AM

    My first response after reading the headline was what fools, after reading the GM take on it, I would feel pretty good if I’m a Panther fan with this guy in charge….he is not afraid to make an unpopular decision and he has a plan, it will be interesting to see what he does at that position….

  24. ck44sps says: Mar 13, 2014 11:51 AM

    I can see him going to an AFC team, Pats, Jets, Baltimore or Cleveland

  25. travman162 says: Mar 13, 2014 11:52 AM

    Bucs need a WR. What better way to stick it to the Panthers than to play them twice a year. Too bad I can’t stand Smith :(

  26. dollasnsense says: Mar 13, 2014 11:52 AM

    Mike Evans, Odell Beckham or, if the Panthers really get bold Sammy Watkins, will be wearing a Carolina hat after Day 1 at the Draft

  27. jbeagles23 says: Mar 13, 2014 11:54 AM

    Smith is going to either Washington or Balt. Dude has a lot of heart and can take over one or two games a year but he is no more than a low end number two in the league anymore

  28. hoopieguy says: Mar 13, 2014 11:56 AM

    Yeah, I would love to see Carolina trade up with the Brownies. Give “em your whole board for Watkins. I like it

  29. DrSteveBrule says: Mar 13, 2014 11:58 AM

    Panthers play well and secure the #2 seed in the NFC. Then half of the O-Line retires and they let every WR walk. Must be tough to be a Panthers fan.

  30. jmblosser82 says: Mar 13, 2014 11:59 AM

    Ravens and Browns make sense, but I see him wanting to go to a contender.

  31. whatnojets says: Mar 13, 2014 12:12 PM

    Rumor has it that NYJ just sent their company jet to pick him up for a visit to Florham Park

  32. sterilizecromartie says: Mar 13, 2014 12:18 PM

    Greg Olsen is skyrocketing up my fantasy TE rankings!

  33. classyjacklambert says: Mar 13, 2014 12:18 PM

    Steve Smith is 5’9″… Joe Flacco only throws jump balls… Why would he become a raven?

  34. ericwhitener says: Mar 13, 2014 12:20 PM

    If anyone wants a good laugh; look at the Panthers depth chart for receivers.

  35. dvdman123 says: Mar 13, 2014 12:23 PM

    He will be catching passes from Drew Brees next season.

  36. kingokra says: Mar 13, 2014 12:52 PM

    Come to New Orleans, Mr. Smith. I see that Roman Harper is visiting the Panthers. Just think, you’d get to beat him like a drum two more times next year if you come wear the black and gold.

  37. ravensbob says: Mar 13, 2014 12:54 PM

    Raven by days end. Then get Owen Daniels.

  38. thefiesty1 says: Mar 13, 2014 1:07 PM

    Too bad the Cowbabies have no cap money he could replace Miles Austin. But they would have to have a GM and cap-ologist first.

  39. nowillrepeat says: Mar 13, 2014 1:07 PM

    He should come to the Saints, than after, build a statue for him and claim him as our own. (sound familiar?)

  40. godofwine330 says: Mar 13, 2014 1:12 PM

    He deserved better than that. Gettleman may be a competent GM eventually, but as of right now he hasn’t mastered the one element that a small NFL city GM needs to have: How to treat people.

    A GM doesn’t really have to sell NY, or SF, but if you are Carolina, Cleveland, etc, you have to woo people to get them to come to your city the same way the 5’6″ 275 pound man has to woo a female. You are outclassed by so much you have to go above and beyond to reign in people and Gettleman hasn’t gotten that.

    He has a team in a division where they haven’t had a repeat champ for 12 straight yrs. Every starting offensive lineman from last year is gone, as well as both starting receivers including the stalwart, hardest worker on the team and longest tenured player and you treat him like that? How about the ultimate, “Here’s what they think about you to every current player and potential free agent.”

    He did the worst PR, anti-free agent move guaranteeing that from now on the team will be either the last resort or overpaying for free agents. I’m not a Panther fan but I am ticked off. The ugly, short fat guy being rude to his pretty girlfriend in public for the world to see. Great move, genius – not. Steve Smith deserved better than that for his 12 years in that city.

  41. sb44champs says: Mar 13, 2014 1:24 PM

    /\ Yeah, Sam Mills is forever a Saint
    | |

  42. humnbass says: Mar 13, 2014 1:26 PM

    Well Panther fans, back to the basement for you. Now Cam has nobody to throw to along with an offensive line that’s as porous as a wet kleenex. This results in Cam running more, getting hit more, throwing more interceptions, limping off the field, defense on the field more, record of 7 and 9, Coach getting fired. And I thought my team (Redskins) were the only dysfunctional, embarrassment of a team living in the basement of the league. Looks like company is on the way.

  43. qdog112 says: Mar 13, 2014 1:41 PM

    The future indeed, looks bright for Carolina. Players will be dying to play for Gettleman since watching how he treated Smith and the 17 free agents on the Panthers, that he didn’t bother to even call.

    Based on what we now know, wanna bet that Gettleman pushed Gross and Hangartner into retirement? The Gettleman infatuation with Nicks is a very high risk gamble.

    “Decisions, either popular or unpopular, have to be made for the greater good, and it is imperative to take an unemotional global view.”

    In this case the greater good, was to sabotage the good work of coach Rivera and the players, who he seems to not care about at all. Gettleman has an ego issue.

  44. kingpel says: Mar 13, 2014 1:56 PM

    I’ll be shocked if the Seahawks don’t nab him.

  45. metitometin says: Mar 13, 2014 2:27 PM

    Paging Mr. Belichick. Paging Mr. Bill Belichick.

  46. pkaiser59 says: Mar 13, 2014 3:09 PM

    This is truly a dark day for Panther Nation! Way to show how totally classless you are, Gettleman! Not the way to treat a player of his caliber!!!!

    Wishing Smitty the best of luck, wherever he lands! Gonna miss him here in NC!

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