Curtis Samuel leaves Panthers thin at WR after WFT move
By Noah Bryce
Why the Carolina Panthers let Curtis Samuel walk and what that means for the team.
Curtis Samuel got paid, just not by the Carolina Panthers. The expected but heartbreaking news was reported that the star wide receiver is signing a three-year $34.5 million deal with the Washington Football Team. While we certainly enjoyed his career year, it simply priced him above what the team was willing to pay.
Before the 2020 campaign, Samuel had a career-high for receiving yards in 2019 with 627 while starting 15 games. In only five starts last season, he blew that out of the water with 851 receiving yards, on a team that provided two 1,000-yard receivers ahead of him in D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson.
He also added 200 yards on the ground as well, where Samuel showed impressive agility and vision.
With this departure, the Panthers lose a valuable piece to an offense that just looked different without him. Especially in third-down situations where Samuel became an irreplaceable safety valve for Teddy Bridgewater after the loss of Christian McCaffrey.
It seemed like every time Carolina converted it was his name being called on some short slant or curl route.
Christian McCaffrey’s return left Curtis Samuel as the No. 4 option in Carolina.
But that right there is the rub, McCaffrey.
While Samuel is certainly an amazing player and showed that last year, a lot of what he does is brought by McCaffrey as well. In fact, the former Ohio State standout got those opportunities in large part because of injuries to the Pro Bowl running back last season.
Coming off a year where the running back only suited up for three games, the Panthers seem to have faith that McCaffrey is ready to go for the coming season. As evidenced by them letting Samuel walk and the inactivity at their running back position in free agency.
So while one hates to see Samuel go, it makes sense in some ways why the Panthers had to. There simply isn’t enough money this year to pay two people that bring the same thing.
With that being said, however, the Panthers receiver room looks dangerously thin with no true No. 3 option on the roster at the moment, especially without a reliable tight end target. So look for the Panthers to be players for a free agent or in the upcoming draft for a big-bodied receiver to complement the speed the team already has with Moore and Anderson.
Carolina’s loyal fanbase will always remember that amazing flea-flicker touchdown catch in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons. There was also the score where Samuel just scorched past defenders for a 12-yard touchdown run where he seemed to weave his way to the end-zone with ease.
Those just being two of the highlight-worthy plays he brought to Carolina during his time there.
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Samuel will certainly be missed. But good luck with your new team No.10 and if you ever want to come back, know that the fans will welcome you with open arms.