BOSTON (CBS) — Steve Smith was officially released by the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, making the veteran receiver a free agent.
Smith, 34, is now free to sign wherever he would like to play after the team was unsuccessful in its attempts to trade him.
Where Smith will choose is anyone’s guess, however the list he provided to the Panthers of places he’d be willing to go in a trade provides some valuable insight on Smith’s ideal destination.
According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, Smith gave the Panthers five teams to which he’d accept a trade: the Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Ravens are reportedly most interested in Smith, though the receiver’s openness to playing in New England raises the possibility of Smith wearing a Patriots uniform.
The Ravens were also reportedly trying to sign Julian Edelman, as were the Patriots, so this could be a situation where each team will end up with one of those two receivers.
Smith’s agent, Derrick Fox, told The Associated Press that Smith showed a desire to move to a slot receiver role.
“At 34, [the Panthers] could have kept him and run him in the slot,” Fox said. “Steve wants to play in the slot, but he can’t play the slot with the current roster, and he hasn’t been able to play in the slot with the rosters in the past.”
Panthers GM Dave Gettleman said the decision to cut Smith was made with the team’s long-term interests in mind.
“When I took this position I knew that difficult decisions would have to be made along the way,” Gettleman said. “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.”
A member of the Panthers from 2001-13, Smith leaves Carolina as the franchise’s all-time leader in touchdowns (75), receptions (836) and receiving yards (12,197).