Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers fractured his left arm while playing flag football over the weekend.
Combine this with his recent comments about wanting to be a No.2 WR after tiring of being the focus of the opponent every week, and this story may be bigger than you think.
While he will likely be back for Week One, this is going to give some players some valuable reps in camp. You should keep tabs on a few players since this injury has a ripple effect. Here’s who to keep tabs on:
Steve Smith WR CAR
Putting himself in harm’s way by playing flag football really isn’t the first questionable decision that Smith has made. Many people have forgotten about the fight that happened in practice, his subsequent suspension, and his tendency to speak his mind. The Panthers have to be growing tired of his antics, and would love to see a young WR step up.
Brandon LaFell, WR CAR
Here you go, son. You have a golden opportunity to impress during training camp and preseason action. You could argue there isn’t a single rookie WR in a better spot to make an instant impact this season.This does nothing but help his chances.
Dwayne Jarrett, WR CAR
It seems that every time Jarrett seems to be on the chopping block, something happens to keep him alive. This will be LaFell’s first chance to make a good impression, but this will likely be the last one for Jarrett. It’s time for him to step up.
Armanti Edwards, WR CAR
Many of you have likely read the Summer Sleeper article on this site about the potential of Armanti Edwards. This is great news for him. He’ll have a shot to work with the first team and develop some chemistry with Matt Moore. If you waited to grab him as a sleeper, wait no more. He won’t be around much longer.
Matt Moore, QB CAR
Losing time with Smith this offseason isn’t great for Moore. Training camp and preseason action (if Smith misses all of it) would have been a great opportunity to develop some rhythm and timing. It’s much harder to get that during the chaotic season.
The broken arm is the latest red flag for Steve Smith. His age, questionable comments about being leaned on too heavily, and now this injury combine for a mix of more questions than answers right now. The young Panthers WRs need to take advantage of what should be a golden opportunity to shine.