On Friday, following day one of last week’s three-day NFL Draft extravaganza, held remotely instead of its intended 2020 home of Las Vegas for the first time due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Rapaport reported that Samuel was a “name to watch” over the weekend for a potential trade.
“The Panthers have been open to deals this offseason, and here is a name to watch: Curtis Samuel,” Rapaport said on his official Twitter page. “Teams have been consistently calling about the former second-round pick, and we’ll see if they get an offer they can’t refuse over the next two days.”
Though Samuel did not get moved during draft week, it’s still possible that a deal is struck this off-season.
A second-round draft choice in 2017, Samuel is now entering the fourth and final year of his rookie-wage scale contract, and it doesn’t appear that the two sides – or, at least the Panthers – appear motivated to get a long-term extension done.
Samuel will be a free agent in 2021, meaning he could leave Carolina for nothing next year if he’s not dealt by the week 8 NFL trade deadline.
Through three seasons with the Panthers, the 5-foot-11 speedster has amassed 108 career receptions and 1,236 receiving yards, while adding 31 carries and 278 rushing yards on the ground, as well as 20 kick returns for an additional 430 yards.
He’s also scored 14 touchdowns, all of which came following his rookie season.
In 2019, Samuel had his best season with the Panthers, recording 757 all-purpose yards on 73 touches and scoring seven touchdowns.
One team who could actually utilize a receiver with Samuel’s skillsets are the New York Jets.
The Jets, who are coming off a season littered with season-altering injuries to starting quarterback Sam Darnold, along with then back-ups Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk, finished the season with only 3,111 passing yards, fourth lowest in the NFL.
To compound their lack of success through the air, wide receiver Robby Anderson left the Jets in free agency for Samuel’s Panthers on a two-year deal worth nearly $20 million in total.
Anderson led the Jets in receiving in both 2017 and 2018, while accumulating a team-high 3,059 receiving yards since joining the club as an undrafted rookie in 2016.
During the NFL Draft, the Jets selected a wide receiver in round two, taking Baylor’s Denzel Mims with the 59th overall selection. Mims is 6-foot-3, 207-pound First-Team All-Big 12 receiver, who recorded 66 catches, 1,020 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns last year.
The only other significant wide receiver acquisition the Jets have made this off-season has been the addition of Breshad Perriman, whom they signed to a one-year deal worth $6 million guaranteed in March.
Perriman, however, is known for being somewhat of a bust. After being a first-round pick in 2015, Perriman has only registered 95 receptions for 1,591 yards and 11 touchdowns in four seasons. (He missed his rookie campaign in 2015 due to injury.)
Last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Perriman posted 36 catches for 645 yards and six touchdowns, his best individual performance to date.
By comparison, the addition of Samuel would make the Brooklynite the Jets’ number one or two receiver from day one.