CHARLOTTE NC - DECEMBER 19: Steve Smith #89 of the Carolina Panthers points to the Arizona Cardinals sideline during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 19 2010 in Charlotte North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Steve Smith Plans Return To Panthers: 'I'm Staying In Carolina'

Steve Smith reportedly won't be traded and he'll report to the Panthers training camp.

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Steve Smith: 'I'm A Panther For Life'

The Carolina Panthers don't have to worry about losing WR Steve Smith anytime soon. He tells ESPN that he plans to be a Panther for life.

There were plenty of Steve Smith trade rumors throughout the offseason and now that we've hit free agency and trading is allowed some were wondering if Smith would be moved.

He won't be. And it sounds like he won't be leaving anytime soon, either.

"For me I'm always going to be a Panther," Smith said Thursday from Charlotte. "They took a shot on me when I was coming from nowhere and now I'm going into my 11th year in the league. This will be where I retire, whether that's five years from now or one year from now."

The Panthers can use Smith with QB Cam Newton developing over the next few years so it's not like he'll be wasted. For now, I'm saying this is a good move for the Panthers. Give Newton some help early on.

Check out Cat Scratch Reader to see what Panthers fans are saying about the move. 

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Steve Smith Returning To Carolina Panthers, According To Report

We've been wondering all offseason what the Carolina Panthers will do with WR Steve Smith. As a rebuilding team, some thought Smith would be traded and there were even some reports that he wanted to be traded. Ultimately, though, the Panthers have decided to hang onto him.

According to NFL Network's Michael Lombardi, Smith met with the Panthers front office and he'll be staying in Carolina. He plans to report for training camp on Friday.

I can see the argument for and against trading Smith. On the one hand, you want to get value out of him while you can, especially in a rebuilding year. The Panthers, more than likely, aren't going to the playoffs this year. On the other hand, new QB Cam Newton needs a solid receiver to aid in his development so in that sense not trading Smith makes sense.

So that's one veteran receiver off the market. 

Check out Cat Scratch Reader to see what Panthers fans are saying about the news. 

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Would Panthers Be Better Served By Hanging Onto WR Steve Smith?

We've been talking lately about whether Panthers WR Steve Smith will be back in Carolina next season. There have been reports that Smith demanded a trade from the Panthers but he tells Pro Football Weekly that no such demand has been made.

He did say, though, that he would like to be in a competitive situation, which suggests a future outside of Carolina, who is coming off of a two-win season, could be a possibility.

But do the Panthers have to trade Smith? Steve Wyche of NFL.com makes an interesting argument saying that the Panthers would be better served by keeping Smith in Carolina rather than picking up draft picks for him.

Smith still commands double teams and with him taking attention off the running game and tight end Jeremy Shockey, Newton could stand a better chance. All the way around, Smith, who has been with the Panthers since 2001, probably is more valuable to Carolina than anywhere else.

I've always thought that the long-term future of the team would be best served by trading Smith, who turns 32 years old this week. But Wyche makes a good point in that Newton's progress, which is more important to the long-term health of the team at this point, may be better served by having Smith around. It makes a lot of sense, especially because the development of your quarterback is clearly the most important aspect of building your team.

So while talking about Smith and a possible exit from Carolina, remember that a trade may not be their best option.

Check out Cat Scratch Reader for more on Smith's future in Carolina. 

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Steve Smith Floated As Trade Possibility For San Diego Chargers

Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith....a San Diego Charger?

It's possible, San Diego Union Tribune reporter Kevin Acee says. The NFL lockout has prohibited any player movement but the Chargers are in a "wait-and-see" mode with Smith right now. Acee reports there is some interest there and Smith has made it known he's interested in joining the Chargers, Oakland Raiders or Baltimore Ravens

So why would Smith want to land in San Diego? Per Acee:

The Chargers landing Smith could be a product of his wanting to play in a good offense, close to his Lynwood, Calif., birthplace coupled with the team's need for a top-flight receiver.

Smith reportedly has cleaned out his locker in Carolina and asked management for a trade. He's arguably the best player in franchise history so any trade won't be taken lightly. 

I think this is a good move for the Chargers because they're ready to win the AFC West right now and Smith can step right in and help them. The Chargers nearly won the division last year with WR Vincent Jackson out half the year and a fairly incredible run of injuries at the position so imagine what they do with two top receivers in Jackson and Smith.

The other issue -- other than compensation, which would likely be in the area of a third or fourth round pick -- is that Smith is due to receive $15 million over the next two seasons so he would likely have to re-work that. 

Check out Bolts From The Blue to see what Chargers fans think about such a trade. 

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What Is Steve Smith's Future With Carolina Panthers?

Last October I argued that the Carolina Panthers were one of the losers at the NFL trade deadline because they didn't trade a few of their pieces, including WR Steve Smith. The Panthers are clearly rebuilding and Smith could net a draft pick in a trade. 

He's entering the final two years of his deal after signing a six-year, $43 million contract in 2007. The Panthers haven't indicated that they're willing to trade him. In fact, they've done several things to indicate they won't trade him such as hiring his former college receivers coach and drafting QB Cam Newton No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL draft. Smith and QB Jimmy Clausen didn't have the best of relationships

So what will happen with Smith? Apparently, if it's up to him, he'll be traded. Carolina Growl reports that they've been told repeatedly by sources that Smith has already told the team he wants to be traded. 

On the one hand, it makes a lot of sense to trade Smith because, as we said above, the Panthers are rebuilding and need more draft picks to reload. On the other hand, it doesn't make sense because Newton, who could start as a rookie, needs all the help he can get on offense. 

Nothing can happen until the NFL lockout is lifted. Once that happens, expect more Steve Smith trade rumors to start popping up. He would make sense for a team that's ready to contend now.

Check out Cat Scratch Reader for more on Smith and the Panthers plans. 

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