If the Carolina Panthers are open to trading Curtis Samuel, these five teams could be preparing an offer.
The Carolina Panthers are entering a new era, with Matt Rhule coming in as head coach with a long-term deal in his pocket and quarterback Cam Newton gone. They’ve added to their wide receiver mix this offseason, headlined by Robby Anderson, which has cast doubt on the future of Curtis Samuel.
At the end of last month, Joe Person of The Athletic (subscription required) reported the Panthers were not actively shopping Samuel. But they could be open to trading the former second-round pick “if someone called with a strong offer.”
Samuel was taken by the Panthers in the second round (40th overall) of the 2017 draft out of Ohio State. He is coming off his best season in 2019, with 54 receptions (on 105 targets) for 627 yards and six touchdowns along with 130 rushing yards and another score.
Naturally he saw a substantial uptick in playing time, as he was on the field for 86 percent of Carolina’s offensive snaps, but his catch rate (51.4 percent) was poor as his drop rate spiked to 6.7 percent.
At 23 years old (24 in August), Samuel should be an asset to the Panthers’ plan under Rhule. But if they are motivated to trade him, these five teams should have some level of interest.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay is loading up for a run with Tom Brady under center, and the departure of Breshad Perriman leaves a void beyond Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at wide receiver. Scotty Miller and Justin Watson are in line to compete for the No. 3 role right now, but if there’s an opportunity to add someone it has to be taken.
Samuel’s versatility makes him a nice fit as a weapon around Brady, and having a better quarterback after working with Kyle Allen most of last season should help him. He’s also entering the final year of his rookie contract, and his $2.053 million cap hit is easily taken on by the Buccaneers or any other team.