Steve Smith leaving Carolina? Where he fits best - Fan perspective

Steve Smith has not stated that he is leaving, but his lack of clarification makes Carolina Panther fans nervous. As a Carolina Panther fan from the start and someone that has followed every moment of Smitty's career, I have to say that I think he wants out. Smith has been in similar situations in the past and always been quick to dispel such rumors about him leaving. He is not saying he is staying and that speaks volumes in my opinion. Whatever the case, Carolina Panther fans wish him well on the whole. This guy has given Carolina everything over his career and has blossomed into a great player and role model. His need to win a championship is understandable at this point in his career, though I would love to see him retire in Carolina Blue.

With that said, here are five places that I think Smith would thrive and help take a team to the next level:

Chicago Bears

As much as I hate to admit it, Jay Cutler(notes) slinging the ball is just the type of quarterback style that Smitty thrives with. Cutler will take any chance and Steve Smith is at his best on the fly. He is excellent at making something out of the unexpected and Cutler certainly knows a thing to two about that. Smith could be the piece that Chicago and Cutler needs to get to that next level.

New England Patriots

Smith getting to move back to the slot is like a dream come true. If Smith had Tom Brady(notes) throwing him the football, he might just return to the form that made him one of the elite receivers in the league. Think Wes Welker(notes) with far more explosive potential to get a mental snapshot of what might be possible here.

Indianapolis Colts

See Tom Brady above for why Smith would be great here. The only difference is that Indianapolis has more weapons already. That could make Smith even more effective for Peyton Manning(notes).

Pittsburgh Steelers

Imagine Ben Roethlisberger(notes) throwing to Mike Wallace(notes), Hines Ward(notes) and Steve Smith. That is enough to scare anyone. The Steelers have a blueprint that Smith is used to, as Carolina has always been similar in style. The difference is that Pittsburgh has the horses to win it all this season whereas Carolina is rebuilding.

San Diego Chargers

Phillip Rivers and San Diego are right there every single season and Steve Smith is exactly the type of player that could send them over the top. Smitty would not know what to do with himself receiving the football in stride again. It has not happened in a long time.

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Updated Thursday, May 12, 2011