Sources: Panthers shop Steve Smith
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The release of Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith sure seems imminent after Monday's developments, writes David Newton. Blog
The attempt to trade Smith has led to speculation that the team's all-time receiver could be released soon after the start of the NFL's new year, which begins at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday.
A team spokesman told ESPN.com that Smith's status with the team has not changed. The spokesman also said reports that the removal of Smith's No. 89 jersey from the team store and official website had to do with Smith's plans to add "Sr.'' to his jersey in recognition of the impending arrival of his namesake, not his impending departure from the team.
Smith, 34, is scheduled to count $7 million against the salary cap this season. General manager Dave Gettleman said last month at the NFL combine that Smith's role with the team in 2014 was being evaluated.
Coach Ron Rivera reiterated Gettleman's take recently at the retirement news conference of left tackle Jordan Gross.
Smith, the team's all-time leading receiver, met with Gettleman on Wednesday. In a Thursday interview on ESPN, while serving as a guest analyst for Clemson's pro day, Smith kept the contents of the meeting private.
"Here's all I have to say about it," Smith said. "I am working out and doing all the things as I am a Carolina Panther. That's where I am. And I'll continue to move forward until I am told otherwise."
Smith, who will turn 35 in May, is coming off his second-least productive season over the past nine years. He had 64 catches for 745 yards and four touchdowns. He is the only one of Carolina's top four receivers from last season under contract.
Gettleman and Rivera have said an offseason priority is to give quarterback Cam Newton more weapons.
Information from ESPN.com Panthers reporter David Newton was used in this report.
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