5 Panthers offseason departures who’ll thrive elsewhere in 2021

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Zach Kerr
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Zach Kerr /
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Carolina Panthers
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Curtis Samuel /

Curtis Samuel – Former Carolina Panthers WR

Once Curtis Samuel went over 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2020, it almost seemed inevitable that the Carolina Panthers were going to lose the wide receiver in free agency. Their need to place the franchise tag on stud right tackle Taylor Moton was there for all to see, leaving the Ohio State product free to test the market and get a big-money offer from elsewhere.

Samuel eventually decided to reunite with his old head coach Ron Rivera on the Washington Football Team. This also came with a three-year, $34.5 million contract that included a $12 million signing bonus and $23 million guaranteed, something the Panthers were never going to match.

Carolina got themselves some additional weapons at receiver this offseason. They signed David Moore in free agency and drafted Terrace Marshall Jr. and Shi Smith, who should all make a solid contribution in 2021 and possibly beyond.

However, that does not mask the fact Samuel could go on to be a superstar in Washington.

His partnership with ex-Buckeyes teammate Terry McLaurin could be among the league’s most productive in no time at all. Much will depend on how Ryan Fitzpatrick gets on under center, but there is nothing to suggest he cannot have a superb campaign with the weapons at his disposal.

Samuel left the Panthers for nothing, which is the most frustrating element surrounding his departure. The latest in a series of top players who weren’t extended at the right time.