Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Steve Smith extension an excellent move by Panthers

Very good news today on the Carolina Panther front: Steve Smith has agreed to a three-year contract extension that will keep him as a Panther through the 2015 season. There is also an option year for 2016.

Smith, who will turn 33 in May, had a career-rejuvenating Pro Bowl season in 2011 with Cam Newton throwing him the ball, catching 1394 yards worth of passes (the third-highest of his 11-year NFL career -- see his career stats here).

As I've written before, Smith is the best player the Panthers have ever employed in my opinion -- some might give the nod to Julius Peppers, but to me No.89 has stuck around longer, affected more games in a positive way and ultimately contributed more (he has scored 67 career TDs, more than any other Panther). Now Newton may ultimately surpass him, but that is a discussion for about 5-10 years from now.

Anyway, this contract extension is not a huge surprise (the Panthers have now confirmed the deal, first reported by Pro Football Weekly, and Smith will talk to the media at 3 p.m. today).

Smith has talked about wanting to finish his career as a Panther, and the Panthers have salary-cap issues and needed to restructure Smith's contract to avoid that $7.75-million base salary hit (and $10.7M cap hit) in 2012. The only way to do that and keep Smith on the team was a contract extension since this was the final year of his most recent contract.

We all know Smith has had his problems off the field, but as an observer of Smith for the past 11 seasons since Carolina took him in the third round in the 2001 draft, I can also tell you he has matured and he tries so much harder to be good at his job than so many professional athletes do. The Panthers needed to do this.

The author of the best play in Panther history (the 69-yard reception to win the double-OT playoff game at St. Louis) and the best game in Panther history (that stunning 218-yard receiving game in the playoffs at Chicago) doesn't ever need to play anywhere else. Smith should be a throwback, one of those players who start and end their career at the same place -- in Carolina. This was a win-win for both sides. Even in the worst of times, I've never advocated cutting or trading Smith -- he's been too valuable for too long, and there is still some tread on those tires. All he needed was a good quarterback to show that.

One additional plus: the two most important receivers to Newton right now are Smith and tight end Greg Olsen. They are both now signed through the 2015 season.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more, Scott. Wonderful move ... though I think the Panthers still need help at the other WR slot.

Shane said...

This is a stupid move. Should have traded him and gotten picks. Only thing Steve Smith is good for is running his mouth and getting hurt in flag football.

Anonymous said...

Shane. At the risk of sounded like you (ignorant), I'll indulge myself. Shane you are an idiot and know absolutely zero about football if that is your assessment of Steve Smith. Look at the tape, he's one of the best WR in the NFL. What would we be able to get for him? A second rounder at best. Your ignorance is the reason I don't watch football games in bars anymore. At the risk of sounding too much like you, allow me to venture that you are only good for running your mouth and making judgments about a sport you know nothing about.

Mexoplex said...

Shane is a NFC North Fan... in his world only 4 teams exist. And his favorite is all 4. But he lives in NC. clearly knows nothing about Southern football.

Rbortins said...

Greg Olsen had more penalties called against him then any other player in the league. He better stop holding or it will be a long season or 3.

Sportsdon said...

Don't know how anyone intelligent or at least observant can find fault with this move by the team. Steve should, and I believe will, have a statue outside the stadium when he retires. It really does amaze me that some of you take the time to show your ignorance so clearly to other fans of the team.

Shane said...

Football is stupid anyway. My favorite thing to do is shop for matching dresses for me and my poodle. His name is McPoodle.

Rebels Hate Me said...

Chris Gamble averages 1 interception every 8 games, SINCE he got fat in the wallet 4 years ago!
Chris Gamble averages only 2 tackles per game, SINCE he got fat in the wallet 4 years ago.
The Panthers were DEAD LAST in yards per pass attempt, allowing 8.4 yards on every attempt last season. In layman's terms, since you are obviously on DOPE...that mean for every pass attempt by the other team, the Panthers almost gave up a first down every time. Yeah, Great leadership by our number 1 Corner Back, Chris "Ohio Loser" Gamble.
Chris stopped tackling once his wallet got too fat. Chris used to average 75 tackles per year, BEFORE he got paid. After he got paid, he only averages 45 tackles per season.
Chris had 20 Int's on his resume, BEFORE he got paid. Now, he has earned a total of 7 Interceptions in 3 seasons, due to all that money he's been carrying around in his fists.
Oh, and he does get beat, as well as cause Pass Interference penalties. All this has been the Panthers for the tune of $8 Million per season. This Cat is a joke, and is the perfect example of someone who is lazy and not hungry.
Chris Gamble takes a pay cut...or he gets cut. The Panthers can do no worse with him gone. Heck, the Panthers are already the worst team against the pass, so let's get some real players in here and drop the dead weight, ala Chris Gamble

Rebels Hate Me said...

Restructuring Smitty's contract was a smart move, from a Cap standpoint.

Now, Chris Gamble takes a pay cut...or he gets cut. The Panthers can do no worse with him gone.

Anonymous said...

Just admit it that the Panthers are terrible. Doesn't matter that they resigned a use to be good receiver that no one else would take anyways. Glad I get free tickets, no one should ever have to pay to see this team play. Funny all you die hard panthers fan talk about the team, but I always see more visiting team fans at the games then panthers fans. Have fun being bad.

Shane said...

I am a New York Giants Fan. Have been ever since i was a kid. You guys want me to look at the numbers i am. He would be maybe be 3 WR on the G-Men. Behind Nicks and Cruz for sure. The panthers probably could have gotten a 2nd rounder for him and gotten someone younger to come in that isn't injury prone. Steve Smith will miss half the year coming up I gurantee it. I just hope he is healthy when the Giants come to town. They are going to work the Panthers. The D-Line might brake their own NFL record of Sacks in a game.