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Potential landing spots for Steve Smith

The Carolina Panthers made the expected official on Thursday, releasing franchise stalwart Steve Smith after 13 seasons with the team.

Joe Person of The Charlotte Observer reported that Smith gave Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman five teams as potential trade partners. No trade materialized, obviously, but let's take a closer look at how realistic those potential landing spots might be.

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Baltimore Ravens


NFL Media's Albert Breer reported Thursday morning that the Ravens planned to be aggressive in their pursuit of Smith once he hits the open market. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Smith will visit the Ravens on Friday. If Smith still has some gas in the tank, he represents the replacement for Anquan Boldin that Baltimore never found in 2013. This is Smith's most likely landing spot.

Dallas Cowboys


The Cowboys are releasing Miles Austin and could use a slot receiver to line up alongside Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams. Smith does strike us as a Jerry Jones kind of player, though signing the receiver would put a dent into the idea of a burgeoning youth movement in Big D.

New England Patriots


The Patriots officially entered an arms war with the Denver Broncos by acquiring Darrelle Revis on Wednesday. Now's the time to add some weapons around Tom Brady, especially with Julian Edelman possibly headed out the door. Smith makes some sense, though Bill Belichick might still have a bad taste in his mouth after the last time he imported a former star wide receiver on the wrong side of 30 (Chad Johnson).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers


The Bucs have been signing everyone else, why not Steve Smith? Tampa Bay ranked 30th in points per game last season and newly signed quarterback Josh McCown needs some weapons beyond Vincent Jackson. Smith represents an upgrade over Tiquan Underwood, who's a current free agent.

San Diego Chargers


The Chargers need more help beyond Keenan Allen, and Danario Alexander is unlikely to return after multiple setbacks in his recovery from a torn ACL. The Chargers could use more speed on offense, not a strength for Smith at this stage of his career.

And now a couple more logical end points, just for fun ...

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Indianapolis Colts


The Colts have a promising young receiver in T.Y. Hilton and a veteran coming off a serious knee injury in Reggie Wayne. Andrew Luck-to-Steve Smith certainly sounds exciting, and we know Jim Irsay loves to make a splash.

New Orleans Saints


If you're an NFL wide receiver, you almost owe it to yourself to try to play on the carpet with Drew Brees for a season or two. This is the place where Smith could polish up his statistics for Canton ... and maybe win a Super Bowl, too.

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