I don't want to alarm anyone, but yesterday at lunch, I was listening to the NFL BLITZ on Sirius NFL Radio with Adam Shine and Rich Gannon, and they had Fox Sports analyst Jay Glazer on. Apparently Jay Glazer broke the Randy Moss trade story before the rest of the Sports Media. Anyway in his interview the subject of replacing Randy Moss came up.
Jay told Shine and Gannon that he has sources saying the the Patriots are looking at Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith. He said the move was very logical and could very well happen. He stated that the Panthers are a team in flux and really have nothing to play for this season. The trade to New England would probably cost the Patriots about the same as Randy Moss's trade to Minnesota. He didn't even mention another player's name. I think he was dead serious and sounded like he was pretty convinced that this could happen.
Personally, I am on the fence on this one. On one hand I realize and completely believe Steve Smith is a once in a generation type player. I love Steve Smith. I have always been a fan of his ferociousness and tenacity. You simply can't teach those things. Remember that play against the Arizona Cardinals when he was grabbed and surrounded by at least 8 defensive players? Everyone thought for sure he was tackled, but not Super Steve. He pushed his way out of the pile, and raced to the end zone for a 50+ yd. touchdown. That was just Steve Smith being Steve Smith. Amazing. There are probably hundreds of those types of plays in his history with the Panthers. I don't want the magic to end in Carolina.
On the other hand, the NFL is a business, like it or not. I think Steve Smith would garner multiple picks and help the future of this franchise. It is and has been painfully obvious that the Panthers organization is strictly focused on building this team through the draft. They have been pretty successful thus far, and I see no reason to assume they won't be successful in the future. If trading Steve Smith garners them a 2nd or 3rd rounder, should the Panthers pull the trigger? As much as I am a Steve Smith fan, I'm more of a Carolina Panthers fan. I want what's best for this team. So, in reality the question is, does having Steve Smith on the team make the Panthers a better team now and in the future than a second or third round pick in next year's draft? That is a question Marty Hurney has to answer. I would HATE to be in his shoes trying to make that decision.
I will say, if I were the GM, there is ABSOLUTELY no way I would trade Steve Smith. He is the face of the franchise and he should remain a Carolina Panther for as long as he wants to play football. He brings puts butts in the seats and he sells a lot of high priced merchandise. He makes the Panthers money. Without Steve Smith the Carolina Panthers have no identity. I fear that a lot of the Panthers fan base would abandon the team if Steve Smith was traded. Jon Beason is awesome, and he's my favorite defensive player, but he's no Steve Smith.