As we all know Steve Smith keeps getting older and older and;we don't know how long he will be able to play at the high level hes playing at now which isn't even what it used to be. Smith is 33 and, most receivers play till about 35 or 36. The Panthers have a few young guys but I personally don't see any of them playing at the same caliber as Steve Smith or any other number 1 receiver in the league. The Panthers have a few options they can draft one high in the draft, sign one, trade for one or wait and hope one of the ones on the roster develop into something. Here are my thoughts on each:
Draft one- This years draft class is week in the wide receive position however there are 4 guys in there that could potentially replace Smith I think. Those guys are Keenan Allen, Tavon Austin, DeAndre Hopkins and Robert Woods. All four have that big play ability and all of them will be gone by the mid 2nd. Drafting one this year would give them time to develop and learn the offense before they would have to step up.
Sign one- The free agency class isn't the best either but it has some players that I would take. I wouldn't be surprised if all these guys get resigned but here are the guys that could be decent options to fit into the offense and maybe even replace Smith: Brandon Gibson, Domenik Hixon and Johnny Knox. All four are pretty sure-handed and can make a big play.
Trade for one- There are a few guys out there that would be good players to trade for; my personal favorite is Eddie Royal in college this guy was a stud; he could return punts and was an above average wide receiver. He hasn't really got an opportunity to show his true colors in the NFL. Another guy thats high on my list is Doug Baldwin, hes got a lot of talent and that showed last year. There are a lot of other options but I just named my favorite two that wouldn't cost a ton of value.
Wait and see- Brandon LaFell has developed a lot during his time in Carolina and will probably develop some more. David Gettis, Joe Adams, Armanti Edwards and Louis Murphy have all shown glimpses of talent (some more than others) and all have potential to turn into solid players.
I guess this counts as signing but a player I would love to see the Panthers sign is Jeff Maehl off the Texans practice squad. In college he was a great option for Oregon and hasn't really got a chance in the NFL.