Panthers trying to trade Steve Smith, according to report

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The end of Steve Smith's career is closer than you think.

The Carolina Panthers are trying to trade veteran wide receiver Steve Smith, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

Smith's availability on the trading block confirms information provided to Cat Scratch Reader over the weekend that indicated the team would attempt to move the 34-year-old wide receiver or cut him prior to the start of the 2014 season. It's not a wholly surprising move, but rather the culmination of weeks of speculation following Dave Gettleman's comments at the scouting combine.

Processing the news is difficult and leaves the Panthers offense in the lurch. It's unclear how the team will operate without a No.1 receiver or left tackle in 2014 and while those holes could be filled in free agency and through the draft it's difficult to capture offensive continuity without Smitty.

There are levels of this that are strictly business and those that are deeply troubling. Smith elected to stay with the team after its rebuild in 2011 and it feels wrong to jettison him now things are getting on track. Gettleman is a tough no-nonsence football guy, now we see if the Carolinas are truly ready for what that entails.

One thing is certain: Another team is going to get a heck of a receiver.

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