5 Panthers players who proved their importance in 2020

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) D.J. Moore
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) D.J. Moore /
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Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Curtis Samuel /

Curtis Samuel – Carolina Panthers WR

Curtis Samuel has officially arrived on the NFL stage.

The wide receiver showed flashes of brilliance during his first two years in the league. But his rise to prominence in 2020 was both well-timed for the player and vital for the Carolina Panthers.

When quarterback Teddy Bridgewater needed to find a target on third down, he went to Samuel often. This reliability catching the football under pressure was just one big takeaway from the former Ohio State standout during the campaign and this will not have gone unnoticed by any team looking to pick up the do-it-all weapon in free agency.

Carolina has a real problem on their hands where Samuel is concerned.

His asking price will no doubt skyrocket with his outstanding production this season. But it doesn’t appear likely they’ll be able to keep him and stud right tackle Taylor Moton, who is also due for a new contract this spring.

If the Panthers have the make a choice between the two.

It won’t be a hard one.

This is no slight on Samuel. But the simple fact of the matter is Carolina cannot afford to let Moton leave the organization given his importance and the serious questions at other positions on the offensive line.

Samuel is going to get big money no matter what, even with the salary-cap coming down due to COVID-19 revenue losses. One thing is certain, whichever team he ends up on is going to get a special player.