Wyche: Don’t count out Smith staying in Carolina

The signs pointing out Steve Smith’s future seem to be angled in every direction.

After all, Smith has denied he requested a trade from the Panthers, even as he won’t commit on his uncertain future with the franchise. Head coach Ron Rivera has been equally effusive and patient when discussing the matter.

The speculation on Smith still hasn’t waned, even if it’s going in circles as both sides remain tight-lipped. Making sense of it all, perhaps Smith leaving Carolina isn’t a foregone conclusion like many had expected. NFL.com’s Steve Wyche spent part of the week watching the Panthers work out, and left with an opinion on Smith’s future.

“I have a feeling that he will remain there,” Wyche said during a live chat Friday. “The Panthers aren’t going to trade him just to trade him, and I don’t think most teams would give Carolina a high enough draft pick to warrant them dealing him. I don’t think Smith is as disenfranchised as we all believe and it sounds like he wouldn’t mind playing with (Cam) Newton.”

The picture being painted throughout the offseason was one of Smith wanting out of Carolina. While that still might be true, there’s still the aspect of getting value in return for Smith, and perhaps his recent praise of Newton is a sign that he could be convinced the team can be competitive this season.

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