Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel is on the move! The speedy wide receiver has agreed to terms with the Washington Football Team on a 3-year/$34.5M contract. Samuel will reunite with former Ohio State teammate Terry McLaurin to form one of the more explosive wide receiver duos in the NFL. He ended up being one of the more sought-after free agents at his position, receiving a contract containing $23 million in guaranteed money.
Curtis Samuel’s Past Production
The 2020 season saw Samuel record career highs in receptions, receiving yards, rushing attempts, and rushing yards. He is an offensive weapon capable of being used in many ways and will continue to receive ample opportunity to do so in Washington. His versatility and explosiveness are the most exciting attributes he has. Still, he can be relied on more consistently than he has been in years past. Samuel posted a catch rate of 79.4% in 2020, which was second in the entire league.
His average depth of target dropped from 14.6 in 2019 to 7.3 in 2020 as he was cast in a more traditional slot receiver role, but Samuel still has the elite speed to win on deep balls. Throughout his rookie contract, Samuel has developed into a more reliable wide receiver and should continue to see expanded opportunity in Washington.
Samuel will form a group of formidable offensive weapons in Washington with McLaurin and running back Antonio Gibson. He will easily slide in as the second receiving option for the Football Team as J.D. McKissic and Logan Thomas both having 110 targets in 2020 was primarily a product of Alex Smith being under center. The team lacked a steady second option at wide receiver behind McLaurin as no other receiver saw more than 48 targets. With Ryan Fitzpatrick now under contract as the Football Team’s signal-caller, expect the wide receivers to be the most heavily targeted weapons on the Football Team. In the last two seasons where Fitzpatrick started more than ten games at quarterback (2016 with the New York Jets and 2019 with the Miami Dolphins), he targeted his wide receivers early and often. Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker had 128 targets in 2019, and the secondary receiver role, filled by Allen Hurns, Albert Wilson and Preston Williams at different times due to injury, received 169 targets combined. Jets wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa both eclipsed 100 in 2016.
Curtis Samuel is in a prime position to set new career highs across the board in Washington. He finished the 2020 season as a top 24 option at the wide receiver position, and I believe that is the floor for him in 2021. Fitzpatrick’s propensity to hyper-target his wide receivers combined with Samuel’s electric athleticism could produce mouth-watering results. Look for Samuel to finish 2021 as a top 20 option at wide receiver.
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