Steve Smith is set to sign a three year contract extension with the Carolina Panthers, according to multiple sources. The deal could be announced as soon as later this afternoon.
With a competent quarterback under center last season in Cam Newton, Smith enjoyed a resurgence that earned him a Pro-Bowl nod in a year in which he caught 79 passes for 1,394 yards and seven touchdowns. Smith will turn 33-years-old in May, but if he can remain healthy, he is still one of the biggest playmakers in the NFL.
If the Panthers could acquire another wide receiver to put opposite Smith, he may see an even bigger spike in production. Carolina feels that Brandon LaFell is ready for a big season, but the Panthers could also consider using its’ No. 9 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to select possibly Oklahoma State Cowboys wide receiver Justin Blackmon or Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Michael Floyd. If not, expect them to draft at least one or two receivers in the later rounds to better equip Newton with more weapons while surrounding Smith with more talent.
Entering the 2012 NFL season, Smith is the Panthers’ all-time team leader in receptions (699), receiving yards (10,278) and touchdown receptions (59). He is entering his 12th season in the league after playing his college football at Utah.