Could Steve Smith Be In San Diego This Season?

As the dust from the draft finally begins to settle a bit and the Chargers’ 2011 roster gains some additional clarity, there’s nothing like a high-profile trade rumor to stir things up once again. After addressing primarily the defensive side of the football during the three-day draft event in New York City, the Bolts could look to the trade market for an additional weapon on offense.

Disgruntled Carolina Panthers’ receiver Steve Smith has reportedly cleared out his belongings from the team facilities and desires to be traded from the rebuilding Panther franchise. Smith calls California home and has been linked to both the Oakland Raiders and the Chargers as potential destinations for his new NFL home.

It’s hard to imagine the Bolts really going out in search of a player such as Smith in the trade market given the fact that addition potency on offense has to be the furthest thing from their minds at this point. Still the potential risk/reward could be too irresistible to pass up if Smith could be had for a late round conditional draft choice. His production has dipped significantly since the 2008 season, but the revolving door at quarterback for the Panthers has to be considered at least partially at fault for that decline.

There’s no doubt that Smith is past his prime as a dynamic deep threat as he will turn 32 years of age next week. Still there is great value in a speedy slot receiver that could free up some space for tight end Antonio Gates to work over the middle of the field or Vincent Jackson to get over top of the coverage and catch jump balls. V Jack is nearly a mirror image of Smith’s former teammate Muhsin Muhammad who really flourished when the two were together during Carolina’s run to the Super Bowl in 2004. Jackson actually has more speed than Muhammad which could potentially yield even more dividends if the two were to unite in San Diego.

Where the plausibility of this scenario begins to look somewhat foggy is when you consider the fact that General Manager A.J. Smith does not have a track record of dealing for veteran players. Steve Smith also isn’t exactly an A.J. type of player and the Chargers did just add San Diego State wideout Vincent Brown in the third round of this past weekend’s draft. Brown possesses similar attributes to those of Smith and was likely drafted by the team as a potential slot target.

Still the idea of adding a player with Super Bowl experience and a tremendously productive NFL career on his résumé is always an intriguing prospect. Giving Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers another weapon to distribute the ball to can’t possibly be a negative and the Bolts will likely be losing Legedu Naanee in free agency while they still need to re-sign Malcom Floyd.

Bringing in Smith on a one-year deal could be the ideal way to bridge the gap between the departure of some failed draft picks of the past and the promising ones of the future. Getting Smith to show the youngster in Brown the ropes and teach him the subtleties of route running in the NFL could really benefit him in the long run. When a player with 620 career receptions and 52 career touchdowns talks younger players tend to listen and that could be the perfect example for Brown as he makes the transition to the professional ranks.

Although it shouldn’t be a primary concern of the Chargers what the other teams in their division are doing, the fact that the Panthers’ wideout also listed the Oakland Raiders as his other desired landing spot could certainly provide more incentive for pursuing him. The Raiders were a run-based offense in 2010, but they do have a youthful, up and coming receiving corps that could use a veteran presence like Smith in their locker room. Keeping Smith away from the Raiders and preventing the silver and black from gaining any additional traction within the division could provide enough incentive to at least entertain the idea.

Buster Davis has basically been insignificant to the Chargers passing game since arriving via the draft in 2007 and his inability to develop into a contributor has prevented the offense from adding the speedy dimension that they have been looking for in the passing game. Granted Darren Sproles did fill that void out of the backfield at times, but his near certain departure in free agency leaves the team with even less speed on the offensive side of the ball.

It seems highly unlikely that anything will materialize from these rumors of Smith landing with the Chargers, but the addition of a player with his skill set could only be a positive development for Rivers and company. With Vincent Brown now in the fold, the Bolts need to develop him into a viable slot option for multiple wide receiver sets and a player of Smith’s stature could only help expedite that process. If that does come to fruition, scoreboards may need to get some extra light bulbs with the potential explosive nature of the Bolts on offense.

Now it’s your turn. Do you think a player like Steve Smith would fit well in the Chargers’ offense? Does a deal to land Smith seem like something the team’s GM would be willing to do or is it still very far-fetched? Could the signability of Floyd whenever free agency begins determine whether or not the Bolts make a deal like this or would it have little to no impact on the situation? Would Vincent Brown benefit from adding a player like Steve Smith to the roster or would that just give him one more player to jump over on the depth chart? Please fill up the comments section below with your thoughts!

May 6, 2011

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Jjamesnaz said... May 6, 2011, 8:53:00 AM

I don't think there is any chance we go after Smith. We have plenty of our own free agents we need to sign before we think about giving contracts to aging wide receivers. We're already going to have some people fighting to keep a roster spot at our wide receiver position, so we don't really need to throw another guy into the mix

Philip_Rules said... May 6, 2011, 3:23:00 PM

AJ doesn't keep our own aging veterans around, what makes you think he's gonna go out and drop coin on someone else's aging veteran? Maybe if he can pick him up reeeeal cheap, but I doubt Smith will go for that.
As for your other questions....any receiver will do well considering our QB. If Floyd signs, there's no need for any WR help in free agency. If he doesn't, maybe. Rookies can always benefit from veteran knowledge, but I've alwyas felt receivers can benefit much more by working with their QB over working with another receiver.

Kidsd619 said... May 6, 2011, 3:44:00 PM

No way, as much as I would like it no way not an AJ move I wish he would go after Nnamdi or a pass rusher but it's an ice cube chance in hell

Arnie Gordon said... May 7, 2011, 9:44:00 PM

you know what i'd have to agree, that Aj would never make this happen, but not for the stated reasons. Aj would never let it happen because it make sense for Steve to be here. Think about it VJ Gates and Smith as receivers, with Smith in the slot. as well as mathews/tolbert in the back field. defend that! seriously steve's only problem is they couldn't get a stable QB and didn't have anyone else to throw to. last season Steve was looking for the Panthers to get him some "other" receiver help. and on the flip side do defenses really want to see Phillip Rivers throwing to another weapon like Smith?

is it worth exploring, to give the the Chargers a shot in the arm at a possible faster start and reclaiming the division? i think so. will it happen? not ever. but consider this, how many of you saw Bob Sanders being signed here?

peace out

jcruz1109 said... May 9, 2011, 6:14:00 AM

I agree with you 100%. The chargers were not even mentioned in the Bob Sanders sweepstakes and look what happened. The lineup you mentioned would present serious problems to opposing defenses. No one in the league would want this deal to go through.

BoltLove said... May 13, 2011, 12:00:00 PM

to be honest i had a feeling bob sanders was going to come to the chargers. we needed a veteran experience who actually went the distance to guide our defense along the stretch. i dont see him playing to much because of injury reasons and i think thats why we got marcus gilchrist. and now i think it would be a good idea to try and get steve smith for the exact same reasons with sanders except for offense. i know smith hasnt won a ring but he did play a super bowl. thats atleast 2 rounds further than our chargers have ever gone since their 2006 stint.

however if we dont go after smith i really think we will go after asomugha. i mean prince amukamara was still there for us for the taking during the draft and i was hoping if the chargers didnt go with cam jordan they would have gotten prince but maybe this was the reason why they skipped him for liuget.

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