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.

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

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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)

  7. 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

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