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Steve Smith release rumors: Carolina Panthers might use draft to replace Smith

Steve Smith might soon become an NFL free agent.
Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Steve Smith release rumors were addressed by Carolina Panthers coaches this week. As for answers about whether Smith will be released by the Panthers, well that is another question entirely. According to a report from NFL.com on Friday (Feb. 21), both general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Ron Rivera both side-stepped talking about the veteran receiver when asked if he will remain on the roster for the 2014 NFL season.

Rivera stated, "It's all about the evaluations. We got to look through everything, there's a lot of scenarios that we're putting together as a football team." He went on to talk about how the team could be looking at "college football players" when it comes to filling holes on the team. Again he wouldn't clarify about whether one of those holes would be in the receiving corps. The team has a lot of talent there, but it could be expensive to keep a 34-year-old veteran on the team.

One of the reasons the Steve Smith release rumors have started is that he has a $3 million bonus tied to his salary for next season. It will kick in soon and so would the $4 million in guaranteed salary he would receive. The salary cap hit is obvious, so the team has to decide if it is time to move in a different direction or if one of the most successful players in franchise history has something left to offer that is better than what they could get in the 2014 NFL Draft.