Given the injury complications suffered by Irv Smith Jr. in recent years, a fresh start could be the best possible solution for all parties. Considering the lack of consistent tight-end production across the league, there could be a market for the second-round pick despite reliability issues.
One team that will likely look to upgrade its options at the position is the Carolina Panthers. Ian Thomas and Tommy Tremble just haven’t stepped up as expected in 2022, so a new head coach could mean big changes are coming as the organization finally looks to get itself back into contention.
Looking at talent levels and nothing else, Smith could walk into the Panthers and easily become their best pass-catching tight end right now. Something that might interest those in power, providing the player gets a clean bill of health next spring.
Carolina is going through a period of transition after firing Matt Rhule and trading Robbie Anderson and Christian McCaffrey. They are expected to go after a quarterback early in the 2023 NFL Draft, so surrounding him with as many weapons as possible is vital to smooth their transition to the professional ranks.
Smith fits the athletic profile of players normally targeted by general manager Scott Fitterer. So this could be a nice landing spot on a team that might not be that far away.