How much will the Carolina Panthers miss Curtis Samuel?

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel /

Just how much will the Carolina Panthers miss Curtis Samuel if the talented wide receiver departs in free agency as expected?

It appears as if the Carolina Panthers could be losing Curtis Samuel in the coming weeks when free agency gets underway. The frenzied period of activity across the league formally begins later this month and although there promises to be an unprecedented spell of player movement in the current financial climate, the former Ohio State star should still command plenty of interest.

This is down in no small part to Samuel‘s incredible production in 2020. It might have taken the wideout a little time to find his role in Joe Brady’s scheme with so many mouths to feed. But once he figured this out, he was a dynamic and dependable weapon for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to call upon.

Samuel was just so fun to watch in 2020 on his way to 1,000 all-purpose yards for the first time. This won’t have gone unnoticed by other teams looking to acquire his services and considering the Panthers had no choice other than to use the franchise tag on stud right tackle Taylor Moton, the writing is on the wall where the wideout is concerned.

Had the salary-cap not come down due to COVID-19 revenue losses, things might have been different. But now the Panthers are facing the very real prospect of another quality player entering their prime leaving for nothing more than a compensatory pick.

Curtis Samuel will be sorely missed by the Carolina Panthers.

This is something that been evident throughout recent history in Carolina. The organization did have an opportunity to tie Samuel down or even trade him last offseason, but they opted to wait and now it’s going to cost them his services in all likelihood.

Even though the Panthers still have D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, not having Samuel will be a significant blow and one that will be hard to replace. They did extend Keith Kirkwood and Brandon Zylstra to boost depth, with the return from injury of undrafted free-agent Omar Bayless another exciting factor this offseason that shouldn’t be overlooked.

However, it’s unlikely that this trio will be able to replicate the influence Samuel generated in 2020 and another option needs to be found in free agency, the trade market, or with an exciting college recruit entering the NFL Draft.

Providing Samuel finds the right fit, then the sky is the limit moving forward. Carolina could line him up anywhere in the confidence that he could make a difference. So whoever they choose as a replacement has some big shoes to fill.

This is just one of many critical decisions that Carolina’s front office has to get right before competitive action rolls around in 2021. There is a slim chance they could work out a deal with Samuel, but with running back Christian McCaffrey set to make a full return to health next season, he’d be settling for a lesser role when there could be a better opportunity elsewhere.

The Panthers will miss Samuel terribly. Of that, there is little doubt.

Players with his explosiveness, catch reliability, and game-changing elusiveness don’t come along every day. So he won’t have to wait long when the legal tampering period begins to get a lofty offer and after the year Samuel put together at just the right time, he deserves every cent coming his way.