Carolina Panthers: 4 questions at wide receiver entering camp

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) D.J. Moore
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) D.J. Moore /
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Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel /

Carolina Panthers Question No. 3: Will Curtis Samuel do enough for a long-term deal?

There is a tremendous sense of intrigue surrounding Curtis Samuel in 2020. The wide receiver goes into the season as the No. 3 option for the Carolina Panthers. And he is coming off a strong campaign last time out entering a contract year.

The former Ohio State product has had his problems staying healthy during the early stages of his career. But that does not detract from just what an electrifying player Samuel is with the ball in his hands.

He is extremely elusive both in open space and in tight windows. Samuel recorded 54 receptions for 627 receiving yards and six touchdowns last season. And he also impacted the running game with 130 yards off just 19 carries.

Carolina resisted the temptation to trade Samuel during the NFL Draft. So they have backed themselves into a corner regarding his long-term future. If the wideout manages to build on his efforts last time out. Then he is going to command significant interest on the free-agent market.

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This could drive up the price that the Panthers will need to pay in order to keep him around. And it appears unlikely they will use the franchise tag on Samuel given the cost involved.

Samuel will not want to be a third receiving option for much longer in his career. How he performs in comparison to Robby Anderson could dictate his standing on the depth chart moving forward. And it will be a big thing to keep an eye on when the season gets underway.