Who knew when the Carolina Panthers used a third-round pick on a 5'9 receiver in the 2001 NFL draft that it would be one of the best decisions the franchise has made. Smith, who has been with the Panthers for over a decade, agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Panthers, according to Pro Football Weekly. The move will keep him under contract through the 2015 season and it also includes an option for 2016.
Although financial numbers were not immediately available, Smith was due to earn $7.75 million in 2012, and the Panthers likely will pay more than that amount, including guaranteed money up front, for this season. Smith's deal is believed to be structured similarly to that of the one signed by WR Reggie Wayne with the Colts earlier this offseason, in terms of his guaranteed money and base salaries for the next three seasons.
Wayne received a three-year, $17.5 million deal with a $7.5 million signing bonus.
Smith is 32 years old but it's hard to make an argument out of age when he's coming off one of his best seasons -- 79 receptions, 1,394 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He started all 16 games and really started to develop a rapport with Cam Newton. This move ensures that Newton has his No. 1 receiver for the next few years.
For more on the Smith's new deal, visit Cat Scratch Reader.