With the 2011 NFL draft still fresh in our minds and many of us Panther fans that are excited to see our new age team out on the field, things are starting to look up after a couple of seasons of heartbreak and sorrow. Rivera has met almost every pressing need on team to this point and things are looking very positive for the next season and beyond. Though there is one thing that Rivera and the Panthers FO has yet to address, and that's what to do with Steve Smith. With the recent comments of Smith wanting to be traded out of Carolina it puts us Panther fans in a tough situation that we have no control over whatsoever. It is now up to the front office to decide if Smith is a part of our immediate and long term future, or if it's time to part ways and say goodbye. Steve Smith has has commented on possible landing spots already, wanting to be traded to either the Chargers or the Ravens. And although many have mentioned trading Smith for future draft picks, I believe that both the Chargers and Ravens have players that we could target and possibly trade for once the lockout is over and give us some compensation if Smith is indeed traded. We'll take a look at some of the possible players we could trade for after the jump.
1.Trade Smith and a 2012 4th rd. pick to Chargers for Eric Weddle- With Vincent Jackson possibly wanting to be traded and San Diego not having any other true weapons outside of Jackson trading Smith to the Chargers would make sense. In return we would be getting one of the better young safeties in the game today. Weddle is regarded by many as the next best safety after Troy Polumalu and Ed Reed, so you know we'll be getting a great player in return for Smitty. And although many could argue that our safety situation is great as is in Carolina with Sherrod Martin, Charles Godfrey, Jordan Pugh, and Marcus Hudson, if we could get Weddle we could have Weddle at SS and Godfrey at FS with Martin and Pugh offering great depth at the position. Acquiring someone like Weddle would instantly upgrade our secondary and could transform our defense into the top ten defense that Rivera wants.
Other possible trades with San Diego- Smitty/4th for Vincent Jackson and Smitty/4th for Malcom Floyd.
2.Trade Smith and a 2012 2nd or 3rd rd. pick to Bengals for Jonathon Joseph- The Bengals drafted A.J. Green and have seen promising showings from both Jerome Simpson and Jordan Shipley, but with also having drafted Andy Dalton he'll need all the weapons he can get to help with his development. And Smitty would be a perfect complement to Green, Simpson, and Shipley. In return we'd be getting a Pro-Bowl caliber DB that could easily come in and start on day one. Joseph would be our #1 CB with Gamble on the other side as our #2 potentially giving us one of the better CB tandems in the league. Though the price may be a little steep to try and nab Joseph, I believe it's well worth the price for a top flight corner and is the most realistic plan for prying Joseph away from the Bengals.
Other possible trades with Cincinnati- Smith/3rd for Carson Palmer.
3.Trade Smith and a 2012 1st and 3rd rd. pick to Raiders for Nmandi Asomugha- Everyone knows that Davis has a love for speedy wide receivers. And although Smitty may have lost a step, he's still very quick and agile for his size. Smith could offer a very reliable deep threat for Campbell and be a nice complement to Jacoby Ford, Darius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy. In return we'd be getting the best CB in the league, plain and simple. Asomugha is the type of CB that Quarterbacks have nightmares about and would instantly come in and be our #1 CB and with Gamble as our #2 give us one of the more dangerous CB tandems in the NFL. Though the price to nab someone like Aso is incredibly high(though I put a 1st and 3rd, I think it would take a 1st, 2nd, AND 3rd to outbid everyone else), there is no doubting if we could nab Asomugha it would definitely be the best free agent signing in franchise history!
Other possible trades with Oakland- Smitty/3rd for Jacoby Ford...maybe. No other notable free agents.
4.Trade Smith and a 2012 4rd rd. pick to Ravens for Chris Carr- The Ravens are the other team that Smith expressed interest in being traded to. Trading for Carr would give us a very good tandem of CBs, granted, not as great as Asomugha/Gamble Joseph/Gamble, but it would give us a strong enough tandem to let our DL do its work. Carr emerged last season as a very reliable starter for the Ravens and has given them a reason to possibly re-sign him to a new contract. But seeing as the Ravens have a mammoth list of talented free agents left to sign, stealing Carr away seems more of a possibility. With this trade we'd be giving Smitty what he wants, and we'd get a very good player in return.
And there you have folks! These are the trade scenarios that I believe would make the most sense for both Smitty and the Panthers if our front office believes that it is time to move on from our very dynamic, scrappy receiver. What do you guys think about these scenarios? Do you think there are better trade options out there or do you think that these are the best options for us at the moment?