Yet one day after meeting with general manager Marty Hurney and coach Ron Rivera, Smith repeated what he told his bosses: He plans to remain with Carolina this season and beyond.
"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."
Smith, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, did have lengthy discussions with his wife about what they wanted to do in the future and where they wanted to be. But in the end, they decided the best place for them was Carolina.
Smith said he remained quiet this offseason because he had so much to do, including selling his home in Charlotte to move to a smaller place in the area. He closed on his house this week and has been trying to help his family pack it up so they can move before he leaves for training camp.
Smith has been so busy that he has paid little attention to the Panthers' moves in recent days, which have included the re-signings of running back DeAngelo Williams and defensive end Charles Johnson.
"People have been speculating about my future for two years now," said Smith, who has two years remaining on his contract. "But I'm going to be here and I'm ready to show people a side of me that they haven't seen. I'm staying in Carolina."
Smith, 32, is scheduled to make $7 million this season and $7.75 million in 2012.
The Panthers were an NFL-worst 2-14 last season and had the league's worst offense, and Smith had the worst numbers of his career in a season in which he was healthy.
Adam Schefter is ESPN's NFL Insider.