Panthers acquire WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette from the Chiefs after spate of injuries at wide receiver

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Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette celebrates after gaining a first down during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cleveland Browns Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – With injuries impacting their depth at wide receiver, the Carolina Panthers made a move to acquire wide receiver/returner Ihmir Smith-Marsette from the Kansas City Chiefs in a deal involving a swap of conditional 2025 seventh-round draft picks.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Smith-Marsette is coming off a strong preseason in which he was second in the league with 195 yards receiving on nine receptions.

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The 2021 fifth-round draft pick by the Minnesota Vikings averaged 21.7 yards per catch in three games, including two 40-plus yard receptions from Chiefs backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Smith-Marsette spent time with Minnesota and the Chicago Bears the past two seasons, catching five passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie.

“We think he's a really good route runner with very good hands — and he's a smart guy,” Panthers coach Frank Reich said. “If you're on our roster, you need to be able to play all three positions because we move guys around a lot.”

With the NFL regular season less than two weeks away, the Panthers are dealing with injuries to three of their top five receivers — DJ Chark, Terrace Marshall Jr. and Laviska Shenault Jr.

Chark, who is projected to start opposite Adam Thielen, did not practice on Tuesday as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury.

“The goal is to be ready for Week 1,” Chark said. “That is what me and the training staff are working toward. I've been running, but not it's about getting back to the workload that I was at. But we have some time.”

Shenault was limited at practice as he continues to make his way back from the concussion protocol. The Panthers got some good news on Marshall, who returned to practice Tuesday after dealing with a back injury in what Reich called “a good first step.”

The Panthers also announced their other roster moves to get down to 53 players on Tuesday.

The most notable cut was linebacker Deion Jones, a 2016 Pro Bowl linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons who was signed earlier this offseason to a one-year deal. Jones has started 88 games and played in 96 in his career, with 12 interceptions and 11 sacks.

Carolina is keeping three QBs on the roster for now, with Matt Corral making the team as a backup to No. 1 draft pick Bryce Young and veteran Andy Dalton.

The Panthers also parted ways with five draft picks from the era of former coach Matt Rhule, including wide receiver Shi Smith, cornerbacks Keith Taylor and Stantley Thomas-Oliver, linebacker Brandon Smith and offensive lineman Deonte Brown.

Smith caught 22 passes for 296 yards and two TDs last season for Carolina, but he struggled to find his footing in the team's new offensive system.

The team also cut wide receivers Javon Wims and Josh Vann, running back Spencer Brown, offensive linemen Cam Erving, Justin McCray, Michael Jordan, Sam Tecklenburg and JD Direnzo; defensive linemen Taylor Stallworth and Raequan Williams; outside linebackers Kobe Jones, Eku Leota and Jordan Thomas; inside linebacker Ace Eley; safety Eric Rowe; and cornerbacks Greg Mabin, Herb Miller, Mac McCain and Mark Milton.

Right guard Austin Corbett will begin the season on the physically unable to perform list as he continues to recover from a torn ACL he sustained in last year’s regular-season finale. That means Corbett will miss at least the first four games of the season.

Defensive end Henry Anderson was placed on injured reserve.

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