5 studs and duds from the Panthers’ loss vs. Saints in Week 17

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel /

Curtis Samuel – Carolina Panthers WR

Curtis Samuel‘s performance against the Saints will only make it harder for the Carolina Panthers to keep him. The do-it-all wide receiver was at his brilliant best once again to add further dollars to his demands when he heads to the bargaining table in the coming weeks.

The former second-round pick out of Ohio State has grown in stature this season and managed to go over 1,000 all-purpose yards with another stellar display in the season finale. This won’t have gone unnoticed by teams looking for help at the position in free agency and it remains to be seen whether the Panthers can afford to keep him around.

This would be a body blow to the organization’s plans to become a playoff contender sooner rather than later. Players with the unique skill set Samuel has don’t necessarily grow on trees and given how well the player has performed this season, he’ll be incredibly hard to replace.

Samuel brought in seven of 11 targets for 118 receiving yards in Week 17, which is a further testament to just what a special player he is becoming. What comes next for him is unclear, but the Panthers should do everything in their power to ensure he remains on the roster moving forward.