A year after topping 100 targets (105) and setting career-highs for catches (54), yards (627) and touchdowns (6), Curtis Samuel pushed the bar higher in 2020. On 97 targets, he had 77 receptions for 851 yards and three touchdowns. And for good measure, he added 41 carries for 200 yards and two more scores on the ground.
Samuel will now be a free agent off that season with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage. He’s a wide receiver of course, but he’s a little bit running back too. To put it succinctly, he’s an interesting player.
These five teams are teams to watch as suitors for Samuel. I’m leaving the Panthers off the list, though they have the cap space to retain him if they want to and they may have finally figured out how to use him down the stretch last season.
5. New England Patriots
No team needs an influx of weapons more than the Patriots, and they’ll also be looking for a quarterback this offseason. With ample cap space, $62.2 million right now according to Over The Cap, they’ll be able to do both without hesitation.
Samuel would be a capable target for whoever the quarterback is, with the versatility to be used as a runner. He’s most certainly on Bill Belichick’s radar.
4. Green Bay Packers
The Packers still have some work to do to get under the salary cap at this point, but the need for more weapons around Aaron Rodgers can’t be ignored anymore. Trades, free agency and the draft are all avenues to be pursued. Samuel’s versatility would fit in very nicely.
3. New York Giants
The Giants seem set to mine the wide receiver market this offseason. The inevitable parting of ways with Golden Tate will free up some cap room, and a spot for someone else.
Giants general manager David Gettleman drafted Samuel when he was Carolina’s GM in 2017. Surrounding Daniel Jones with more talent is on the radar, so a deal to bring Samuel to the Giants is definitely in play.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are entering the Urban Meyer Era with the most cap space in the league and the No. 1 overall pick, which will presumably be Trevor Lawrence. Adding to the supporting cast around the franchise quarterback has to be a top priority.
Samuel of course played for Meyer at Ohio State, so there is that tie. The similarities between Samuel and Laviska Shenault is already driving some breakout buzz for Shenault as Meyer comes in, so signing Samuel may be considered redundant. But the Jaguars can’t be too discriminate when it comes to adding talent, and they can pony up for Samuel.
1. Washington Football Team
They say “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” In that case, the path for Samuel to sign with Washington is being set ablaze.
Albert Breer of the MMQB noted how Samuel could be a good fit for Washington. Head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner occupied the same posts in Carolina in 2019, so the familiarity is inherent.
In their predictions of where some notable free agents will sign, Spotrac has tabbed Samuel to Washington as their “best guess.”
Washington has plenty of cap space, a chunk of which will certainly go toward signing a quarterback. A legit second wide receiver to pair with Terry McLaurin is a sure-fire priority too. Samuel has some untapped potential. In Washington, there would be an opportunity to unlock it.