Curtis Samuel

Panthers WR Curtis Samuel Done For Season

When Curtis Samuel exited Monday night’s game, the Panthers were hopeful that he had only suffered a high ankle sprain. Unfortunately, doctors gave the wide receiver some bad news on Tuesday afternoon. He has significant ligament damage in his ankle and will have to be shut down for the season as a result, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Curtis Samuel (vertical)

Samuel dropped a would-be touchdown pass in the third quarter and injury was added to insult when a Dolphins defensive back rolled on his foot. The second-round rookie’s season ends with 15 catches (26 targets) for 115 yards plus four carries for 64 yards.

The Panthers could fill the void from within, as suggested by Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. Second-year pro Damiere Byrd is eligible to return from injured reserve soon and could theoretically suit up in time for the Panthers’ Dec. 3 game against the Saints.

For now, the Panthers are left with four healthy WRs: Devin Funchess, Russell Shepard, Kaelin Clay, and Brenton Bersin. The group was thinned out by October’s Kelvin Benjamin trade and it’s looking even weaker following Samuel’s injury.

The Panthers are 7-3 after topping the Dolphins on Monday night. The Saints, riding a seven-game winning streak, sit atop the NFC South with a 7-2 record.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Falcons, Clayborn, Blank

Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn had six sacks on Sunday, and that allowed him to cash in on a $750K incentive, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Clayborn’s contract called for a $750K incentive if he reached eight sacks on the year and he entered the game with two. If he gets another two this season, he’ll earn $1.25MM. Clayborn’s real payday could come in the spring after his two-year contract with Atlanta expires. The former first-round pick is still only 29 and will not turn 30 until next July.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • Falcons owner Arthur Blank did his best to quiet speculation about Roger Goodell‘s pending extension in a statement. “The Committee is continuing its work towards finalizing a contract extension with the Commissioner, consistent with the mandate provided in the unanimous May 2017 Resolution,” Blank said (via Schefter on Facebook). “Regardless of what may have been reported, the Committee is working within the financial parameters outlined to the ownership at the May meeting. The negotiations are progressing and we will keep ownership apprised of the negotiations as they move forward. We do not intend to publicly comment on our discussions.”
  • Panthers rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel may be done for season, as Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer writes. Samuel exited Carolina’s 45-21 win over Miami in the third quarter after a Dolphins defensive back rolled on his foot. Initially, it was believed that Samuel had suffered a high ankle sprain, but a team source tells Person that it could be a whole lot worse. If Samuel is done, the Panthers could replace him with second-year wideout Damiere Byrd since he can return from IR in time for their game against New Orleans on Dec. 3.
  • Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter expects Jameis Winston to play again this season.
  • Saints running back Daniel Lasco is done for the year.

Panthers Sign Entire Draft Class

The Panthers have signed their entire 2017 draft class. One day after inking first-round selection Christian McCaffrey, all seven Carolina draft picks are now officially in the fold:

Elder and Butker were the last to agree, but they put pen to paper after Friday morning’s rookie camp session. As shown in PFR’s team-by-team draft breakdown, the Panthers are the first team to sign their entire draft class.

According to Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, Samuel’s game is reminiscent of Oregon product Josh Huff. Opinions are split on how this well-rounded receiver’s game will translate as a pro.

It’s kind of like with Jalin Marshall last year,” a regional scout told Zierlein. “How do you use him? He’s not a running back and his routes and hands really aren’t that good. Marshall went undrafted. Samuel is a better athlete but they are about the same size and give you the same concerns with how to use them.”

According to Albert Breer of The MMQB (Twitter link), there is offset language in McCaffrey’s deal.

NFC Draft Visits: 49ers, Eagles, Panthers, Seahawks, Cowboys

The latest draft visits from the NFC:

  • LSU safety Jamal Adams recently visited the 49ers, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Adams will come off the board somewhere in the top 10, though San Francisco’s first-rounder (No. 2 overall) could be too early to select him. The 49ers do want to trade down, however, and if that happens, perhaps they’ll look to Adams if he’s still available.
  • The Eagles hosted Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett and Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson on Monday, according to Rapoport (Twitter links). Barnett joins Missouri’s Charles Harris as the second prospective first-round DE to visit the Eagles, owners of the 14th pick, in the past week. Barnett tallied 13 sacks last season, while no one on Philadelphia’s roster finished with more than 6.5. Wilson, meanwhile, could quickly become “a solid No. 2 cornerback” in the pros, opines NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, who rates him as the 29th-best player in this year’s class.
  • The Panthers, known to be in the market for running back help, had Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel in for a visit Monday, relays Albert Breer of The MMQB (Twitter link). Samuel’s stock seems to be rising because he can also contribute as a receiver and returner, perhaps making him the next Tyreek Hill type to hit the NFL. It’s possible he’ll still be on the board when the Panthers are on the clock in Round 2 (No. 40 overall).
  • Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell met with the Seahawks on Monday, tweets Rapoport, and will visit the Cowboys later this week, reports Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram. McDowell is among the top D-tackle prospects in a weak class of interior defenders, and might be a fit for Seattle at No. 26 or Dallas at No. 28.

Miller’s Latest: Trubisky, Mahomes

We took a look at some fresh draft rumors earlier Friday. Here are several more, courtesy of Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller:

  • While Browns head coach Hue Jackson wants the team to select Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett first overall, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, that doesn’t mean he’s against taking North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Jackson “likes Trubisky a lot,” writes Miller, who notes there’s a chance the signal-caller will still be on the board when the Browns make their second first-round selection at No. 12 (assuming Garrett’s their initial pick, of course).
  • The Jets have met with Trubisky on multiple occasions, but Miller’s not quite buying their interest. They “would love” if someone traded ahead of them at No. 6 and chose Trubisky, Miller contends.
  • Both the Cardinals and Chiefs “really like” Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, two sources have told Miller. The Cardinals are reportedly interested in trading up from No. 13 for Trubisky, but they could perhaps stay where they are and grab Mahomes. As for the Chiefs, who own the 27th pick, Mahomes visited them last month.
  • The Titans are likely to draft Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore if he’s still available at No. 5, according to Miller; in the event he’s gone by then, Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams will garner consideration. The club met with Lattimore earlier this month, and it subsequently created a need at corner when it released Jason McCourty on Thursday. Tennessee hosted Williams on Tuesday, and has done its homework on the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder.
  • Lattimore may well end up with the Bears at No. 3 overall. Whether it’s him or someone else, one executive is “99 percent sure” the Bears will wind up with a defensive back in Round 1.
  • The Saints “would love” to select Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster at No. 11, per Miller. Otherwise, New Orleans is a possible destination for one of Foster’s college teammates, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, as are the Titans and Ravens.
  • Ohio State running back/wide receiver/return man Curtis Samuel might come off the board before Florida State RB Dalvin Cook, a scout told Miller. Samuel’s ability to impact games in all of those areas is improving his stock, with teams mindful of the damage Kansas City’s jack-of-all-trades weapon, Tyreek Hill, did last season.
  • Like Samuel, Michigan defensive lineman Chris Wormley is a candidate to go earlier than expected. Miller pegs Wormley as a Day 1 starter in a 3-4 defense, adding that he’s unlikely to last beyond the top 50 picks.

East Notes: Jets, Redskins, Samuel, Eagles

The Ravens’ trade of defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan could impact the Jets‘ asking price for Sheldon Richardson, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com details. Gang Green may still be asking for a first-round pick in exchange for Richardson, but they’re highly unlikely to reap that level of compensation. When accounting for the draft picks swapped by Baltimore and Philadelphia, the Eagles gave the equivalent of a late third-rounder for Jernigan, as Cimini writes (using Chase Stuart of Football Perspective‘s model, the Eagles paid much less: a late fifth-round pick). Jernigan is also much cheaper in 2017, as he’ll earn just north of $1MM while Richardson will take in more than $8MM.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • New Redskins linebacker Zach Brown was reportedly looking for $6MM per year on the open market, but his new deal won’t pay him anywhere near that total. Brown’s one-year pact has a base value of only $2.25MM and comes with $700K guaranteed, per Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post (Twitter links). He’ll earn a base salary of $1.5MM and can earn $250K in per-game roster bonuses. Another $2.3MM is available via incentives, which are tied to playing, Pro Bowl and All Pro nods, and Washington making the postseason.
  • Ohio State WR/RB Curtis Samuel will work out for the Eagles on April 11, tweets Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. As Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com observes, Samuel while likely end up as a slot receiver in the NFL after playing running back at the collegiate level, but he could still manage 8-10 carries per game out of the backfield. Philadelphia’s running back corps currently boasts Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, and Ryan Mathews, the latter of whom is still a release candidate.
  • Patrick Robinson‘s one-year deal with the Eagles is worth only the minimum salary of $775K and contains no guaranteed money, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Initial reports indicated Robinson would make $1MM in 2017, so it’s possible the single-year pact will have a maximum value of $1MM. If incentives are involved, however, Robinson’s deal contract would not qualify for the minimum salary benefit. Robinson, 29, appears to be on track to start for Philadelphia next season, pending the results of the draft.