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Panthers appear ready to part with WR Smith

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It's no longer a matter of if the Panthers will part ways with receiver Steve Smith, but when.

Derrick Fox, Smith's representative, said Wednesday that Smith's career in Carolina is over.

The Panthers continue to try to trade him, but with a $7 million cap figure, a release might be more likely.

Smith signed a new deal in 2012 under the impression he would finish his career with the team that drafted him in the third round in 2001.

"We did a long-term deal because we thought Steve was going to complete his career as a Panther," Fox said. "Now when we find out through the media at the combine that those plans are different, that was news to us."

Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman's noncommittal response to a question about Smith at the combine last month was the first public sign that the future of the franchise's all-time leading receiver was in doubt.

Smith, who turns 35 in May, tweeted Wednesday: "God has a plan … sometimes it just hurts (to) find out what it is."

TALIB, ware to broncos: Denver bulked up its defense as former Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib left the Patriots and agreed to a six-year deal, $57 million deal, and pass rusher DeMarcus Ware agreed to a three-year, $30 million deal a day after the Cowboys released him. Talib said he got interest from Washington, New Orleans, San Francisco and New England but liked the Broncos fit. "We all are guys who play with attitude," he said.

Larsen to cardinals: Former Bucs offensive lineman Ted Larsen of Palm Harbor signed a two-year deal with Arizona. Running back Jonathan Dwyer also signed, for one year.

BILLS: Former Rams guard Chris Williams signed a four-year deal, then joked he was prepared to go anywhere to play. "I'd go to Antarctica," Williams said. "But Buffalo's a lot better than Antarctica."

BROWNS: Quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell were released. Weeden, a first-round pick, was 5-15 as a starter in two seasons. Campbell was 1-7 in his starts last season.

Cowboys: The team released receiver Miles Austin, designating it as a June 1 cut, and signed defensive linemen Terrell McClain and Jeremy Mincey, a former Gator.

49ers: Tackle Jonathan Martin has a physical scheduled today to complete a trade from the Dolphins. Coach Jim Harbaugh said he expects Martin, who was a bullying target in Miami, to make a smooth transition: "I believe everybody deserves an Etch-A-Sketch opportunity and an opportunity to start a new chapter. Very excited about it."

Jaguars: Former Vikings running back Toby Gerhart and former Broncos guard Zane Beadles signed, replacing starters Maurice Jones-Drew and Uche Nwaneri. Former Bucs and FSU linebacker Dekoda Watson signed, and ex-Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders visited.

Jets: Eric Decker, one of Peyton Manning's top targets with the Broncos the past two years (24 touchdowns and 2,352 yards), agreed to a deal that makes him New York's No. 1 receiver.

LIONS: Receiver Golden Tate left the Seahawks and will play alongside All-Pro Calvin Johnson after getting a five-year, $31 million deal.

TITANS: Former Largo High standout Dexter McCluster officially signed a three-year, $12 million deal, and the running back/receiver/Pro Bowl punt returner said his role remains in flux: "I've obviously been able to be versatile. It's going to be interesting to figure it out together what I'm going to do.

SHARPER UPDATE: Former safety Darren Sharper was indicted in Arizona on charges of sexual assault and administering dangerous drugs. There are ongoing sexual assault investigations involving Sharper, 38, in Louisiana, California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada. He is in custody in Los Angeles, where he has pleaded not guilty to seven rape and drug counts.

Panthers appear ready to part with WR Smith 03/12/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 13, 2014 12:13am]

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