Steve Smith officially has hit free agency, but he would have accepted a trade to the New England Patriots.
That’s according to Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer, who quoted a source Thursday saying the Patriots were one of five teams on a list of potential trade partners Smith gave to Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman last week.
The other teams on Smith’s list were the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers, according to Person’s source.
Smith is still an attractive target for teams in need of wide receiver help, despite the fact that he’s 34 and coming off one of the worst statistical seasons of his career. His $7 million salary cap hit scared teams away from trading for him, though, with most anticipating he would inevitably end up on the free-agent market.
That became a reality Thursday morning, when the Panthers announced they have released Smith after 13 seasons with the team.