Rumor: Which AFC East team has their eyes on Curtis Samuel?

(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images Curtis Samuel
(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images Curtis Samuel /

Curtis Samuel is reportedly a target for an AFC East team as the Carolina Panthers look set to lose the wide receiver in free agency.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Curtis Samuel could be leaving the Carolina Panthers this offseason. The do-it-all wide receiver put together a career year at just the right time and is sure to generate a substantial amount of interest on the free-agent market after the organization rightfully decided to use their franchise tag on stud right tackle Taylor Moton.

This is all part of the business. Samuel‘s presence will be sorely missed when he eventually departs and could be the latest player just entering his prime that departs the Panthers in recent years.

Moton was the priority considering how many questions still remain about Carolina’s protection. Samuel could have a number of teams looking to acquire his services in the coming days, which will come with a big payday that the Panthers simply cannot afford despite them having $32.59 million in salary-cap space, according to Spotrac.

Miami Dolphins reportedly have an interest in Curtis Samuel.

According to the Miami Herald, the Miami Dolphins have identified Samuel as a player of interest and will look to make a run at the player when the NFL’s legal tampering period opens next week. This makes a ton of sense for a team that doesn’t appear to be far away from being a playoff contender and if they can secure the former Ohio State standout, it would help their cause enormously.

Whether Miami is going to make a move for Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans to replace Tua Tagovailoa after just one season is up for debate. It would be extremely harsh on the No. 5 overall selection considering how hard he worked to get back from a serious hip injury, but landing a top-five quarterback entering his prime is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

If the Dolphins decide to stick with Tagovailoa, then they have to give him the best possible chance to succeed. Samuel would be an eye-catching addition to the franchise, although the New England Patriots may also have something to say about it as they look to build around former Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in 2021.

Carolina has probably put a contingency plan in place in the event Samuel departs as expected. They aren’t light on options in the passing game with D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and the impending return to full health of dual-threat running back Christian McCaffrey, but they’ll need another dependable presence coming from the slot to ensure momentum isn’t lost.

Miami is always one of the more attractive destinations for free agents in any sport. Who could forget LeBron James taking his talents to South Beach, with the warm climate and laid-back lifestyle hard to turn down.

It is also an organization on the up following the appointment of head coach Brian Flores, although the AFC East is expected to be hugely competitive in 2021 with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets also expected to make improvements.

Samuel could do far worse than end up on the Dolphins. But they won’t be the only team calling the 2017 second-round pick when it’s permitted by the league.

As for the Panthers, they might regret not extending him before the 2020 campaign. However, they have some options of their own moving forward both on the free-agent market and with some exciting recruits entering the pro ranks via the 2021 NFL Draft.