The San Diego Union-Tribune cited people with knowledge of the situation in reporting Friday that the team is monitoring the situation with Smith, who evidently wants to be dealt to the Chargers, Oakland Raiders and Baltimore Ravens. The wide receiver, a Los Angeles native, even has put his North Carolina house on the market.
New Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who served as the Chargers' defensive coordinator for two-plus seasons, said in February that Smith remains in Carolina's plans, although he admitted it's "a touchy thing." According to The Union-Tribune, the Panthers want to cut ties with the four-time Pro Bowl receiver, who has two years and almost $15 million remaining on his contract.
All trades are on hold during the NFL-imposed player lockout.
Receiver could be a position of need in San Diego. Vincent Jackson has been designated the Chargers' franchise player, but that tag might not exist in a new collective bargaining agreement, meaning the disgruntled wideout could leave in free agency. Malcom Floyd is scheduled to be a free agent, and Seyi Ajirotutu, Patrick Crayton, Richard Goodman and third-round draft pick Vincent Brown are under the team's control. Buster Davis has one year left on his contract, but The Union-Tribune reported that he isn't expected to return.
Smith, 32, has 620 catches for 8,884 yards and 52 touchdowns in 10 NFL seasons, all spent with the Panthers. He missed time in the 2010 preseason with a broken arm and ended the regular season with 46 catches for 554 yards and two TDs, his lowest output since 2004, when he played in only one game because of a broken leg.