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Steve Smith on Carolina Panthers' trading block

Questions about Steve Smith's future have swirled since Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman's vague comments at the NFL combine last month.

On the eve of free agency, Smith's future in Carolina appears to be in doubt.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the Panthers are attempting to trade the loquacious wide receiver, according to a source informed of the team's plans. 

At 34 years old and given his $7 million cap number, the chances of a trade happening are one percentage point from zilch.

When trade winds come up on the verge of free agency, it generally means a team is making a last-ditch effort to get some compensation before cutting a player. Such trades rarely happen.

Smith's contract has $9 million in dead money if he's cut this season (or spread over two years if he is cut with a June 1 designation).

Smith has played in Carolina for 13 seasons and has 836 career catches for 12,197 receiving yards with 67 touchdowns. His 2013 performance fell off dramatically.

The veteran hasn't sounded thrilled with the prospect of playing for a different franchise since hearing of the Panthers' wavering attitude toward him.

The Panthers are woefully thin at wide receiver, even with Smith. If they cut Smith, they will have zero receivers on the roster with a catch in 2013.

Gettleman will have to look to add bodies -- and major talent -- in free agency and the draft (which is deep at the receiver position).

The latest "Around The League Podcast" picks the biggest free agent bargains and plays the revolutionary game: "Get my lunch."

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