Carolina Panthers: Time to cash in on Curtis Samuel?

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel /

Curtis Samuel has been the subject of significant trade speculation, but is it time for the Carolina Panthers to cash in on the wide receiver?

The Carolina Panthers have a real dilemma on their hands regarding wide receiver Curtis Samuel. With plenty of trade interest in recent days, is it worth them cutting their losses on the player and gaining some additional NFL Draft capital?

Ian Rappaport of NFL Network reported that Carolina has received multiple calls regarding Samuel, who is heading into the final year of his rookie deal and with no extension on the horizon.

Anything in the region of a second to fourth-round selection might be enough to tempt the Panthers into dealing the player. This would allow them to target a replacement in a draft class that is loaded with receiving talent from top to bottom.

It would be a real shame for the player and the franchise if they parted ways at this stage of his career. Samuel showed signs of life in 2019 after a frustrating start to his NFL career thanks to niggling injuries.

However, the NFL is a business, and Carolina’s decision-makers will be all too aware of the prospect awaiting them in 2021 when they could lose Samuel for nothing in free agency. Their salary cap constraints make it almost impossible to offer the player a deal he would be willing to accept. So the only other alternative would be to move him on and go for a cheaper option that could offer similar production.

Time is of the essence regarding this situation. The Panthers must maximize Samuel’s trade value if they decide to go down this particular route. If they wait too long or ask for too much, it is going to make teams look elsewhere and further complicate the situation they currently find themselves in with the player.

It is yet another intriguing element to day two of the NFL Draft for the Panthers. And one they must get right in order to boost their long-term prospects during their current rebuild.

They have a pretty stacked wide receiver room thanks to a flurry of free-agent signings. Robby Anderson will take away plenty of looks from Samuel if he stays with the franchise. But whether that will play into any final decision regarding his future remains to be seen.

Samuel is still young enough at 23 to enhance his game considerably in the coming years. He is coming off the best season of his fledgling career to date. So, his stock might not get higher during whatever time he has left in Carolina.

It is vital they don’t just accept any offer for Samuel. It’s easy to forget that the Panthers took the player in the second-round back in 2017 and they are expected to want something similar in return given his level of play in 2019.

That might be entirely realistic given the strength of this wide receiver class. But there is nothing to suggest an offer of a third-rounder would put teams off from acquiring his services.

Carolina Panthers: Day two pick predictions (rounds 2 and 3). light. Trending

If it does not happen tonight, then it is doubtful the trade happens at all. This might mean the Panthers miss the boat on cashing in on a player that is sure to test the free-agent market next spring.