Curtis Samuel

Washington Football Team Activates Curtis Samuel

Curtis Samuel is set to make his Washington debut. The WFT has officially activated the wide receiver off of injured reserve and onto the 53-man roster (Twitter link via Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus). 

Samuel joined Washington on a three-year deal worth up to $35.25MM with $24.5MM guaranteed. Unfortunately, he was saddled by a groin injury throughout the summer and opened the year on short-term IR. Now, after missing the first three weeks of the season, he should be ready to go this week against the Falcons.

Samuel will pair with top wideout Terry McLaurin to provide Taylor Heinicke with better ammunition. Samuel, a 2017 second-round pick, is coming off of a career year with 1,051 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns for the Panthers. He also notched career-high 41 rushing attempts, so he could also help Ron Rivera & Co. out of the backfield.

As of this writing, WFT has seven WRs on the 53-man roster: Samuel, McLaurin, Adam Humphries, third-round pick Dyami Brown, DeAndre Carter, Cam Sims, and seventh-round rookie Dax Milne. One of those players will likely be cut loose before the end of the business day.

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Washington Puts Curtis Samuel On IR

The Washington Football Team will place Curtis Samuel on the injured reserve list today (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). It’ll be a short-term IR stint for the wide receiver, allowing him to return after just three missed games.

Samuel joined Washington on a three-year deal this year that could pay him up to $35.25MM with $24.5MM guaranteed. Unfortunately, he’s been saddled by a groin injury that will prevent him from starting the year with his club. At best, Samuel can return for Week 4 against the Falcons. On the plus side, head coach Ron Rivera says that he won’t need surgery.

Washington struggled to find a second receiver to pair with top wideout Terry McLaurin in 2020. Samuel was — and still is — expected to round out the group.

The 2017 second-round pick has progressively improved his numbers during each of his four NFL seasons. His best came in 2020 when he finished with a career-high 1,051 yards from scrimmage to go along with five touchdowns for the Panthers. Samuel also garnered a career-high 41 rushing attempts, showcasing his ability to serve as a Swiss Army Knife-type weapon.

Without Samuel, Washington is left with McLaurin, Adam Humphries, third-round pick Dyami Brown, DeAndre Carter, Cam Sims, and seventh-round rookie Dax Milne at WR.

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WFT Cuts Lamar Miller, Kelvin Harmon

The Washington Football Team has cut RB Lamar Miller and WR Kelvin Harmon, the team announced. Washington has also cut DB Chris Miller and activated WR Curtis Samuel off the PUP list.

L. Miller is the most recognizable member of the trio of players now seeking new employment. The 2018 Pro Bowler, who has two 1,000-yard rushing seasons on his resume, suffered a torn ACL during the 2019 preseason and missed all of the 2019 campaign as a result. He hooked on with the Patriots last August but did not survive final cutdowns. He ultimately wound up on the Bears’ practice squad and appeared in one game for Chicago before being poached by WFT. Washington re-signed him to a one-year pact in March and has now cut him loose after one preseason game.

L. Miller, 30, actually had a fair showing in that preseason contest against New England on Thursday evening. He had three carries for 14 yards and three receptions for 10 yards and a TD. WFT, however, has elected to move on with the likes of J.D. McKissic, Peyton Barber, and Jonathan Williams behind Antonio Gibson on its RB depth chart.

Harmon, a 2019 sixth-rounder, at one time looked like he might have a real future with Washington. His collegiate resume, size, and upside suggested he could have been a much higher draft choice, and he showed some flashes towards the tail end of his rookie season, finishing with 30 catches for 365 yards. Unfortunately, a torn ACL last July wiped out his entire 2020 season, and the club added Samuel and Adam Humphries in free agency this offseason while using a third-round pick on Dyami Brown. John Keim of ESPN.com classifies Harmon’s departure as a bit of a surprise but notes that the team is comfortable with its other options (Twitter link). 

WFT will certainly be happy to have Samuel, who was dealing with a groin issue, back on the field. Samuel landed a three-year, $34.5MM contract from Washington in March, and his speed and abilities as a receiver and runner should complement WR1 Terry McLaurin nicely.

C. Miller, meanwhile, signed as a UDFA with the Seahawks last year and also spent some time on the taxi squads of the Titans and Cardinals. Arizona waived him in May, and WFT liked him enough to claim him off waivers, but not enough to keep him on the roster at this stage of the summer.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 7/29/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Houston Texans

  • Signed: WR Jordan Veasy

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed: OT Chidi Okeke
  • Waived: OT Calvin Ashley

Tennessee Titans

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: LB Bud Dupree; Dupree remains on Tennessee’s active/PUP list as well

Washington Football Team

Washington To Sign WR Curtis Samuel

Curtis Samuel has found his new home. The free agent wideout and former Panther is signing with Washington, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter was first to report (via Twitter). Samuel received a three-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), and Joseph Person of The Athletic tweets that Samuel can earn up to $35.25MM, with $24.5MM guaranteed.

Washington has been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Samuel throughout the offseason. After all, WFT head coach and former Panthers HC Ron Rivera has shown a propensity for recruiting players from his old team, and Rapoport notes that Rivera actually tried to trade for Samuel last season (Twitter link). Washington struggled to find a second receiver to pair with top wideout Terry McLaurin in 2020, but now, the offense will feature two of the most dynamic receivers in the NFL, both of whom were members of Ohio State’s 2014 recruiting class.

Samuel, a 2017 second-round pick, has progressively improved his numbers during each of his four NFL seasons. That culminated in a 2020 campaign where he finished with a career-high 1,051 yards from scrimmage to go along with five touchdowns. Samuel also garnered a career-high 41 rushing attempts, showcasing his ability to serve as a Swiss Army Knife-type weapon.

WFT is still on the lookout for a long-term answer at quarterback — the agelessness of new signee Ryan Fitzpatrick notwithstanding — but the club is quietly assembling a strong foundation of skill-position talent. McLaurin, Samuel, and recent draftees Kelvin Harmon and Antonio Gandy-Golden give Washington an intriguing young WR group, while 2020 third-round running back Antonio Gibson demonstrated plenty of promise in his rookie campaign.

The Panthers, meanwhile, have spent the early days of free agency fortifying their offensive and defensive fronts. Carolina remains in hot pursuit of Deshaun Watson, and even with Samuel no longer in the mix, the team still has a fair amount of skill position talent with the likes of Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, and Robby Anderson.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.

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Latest On Panthers’ COVID-19 Situation

Dec. 11: Good news for Carolina, as Samuel, Thompson, and Brown have all been activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list and were back at practice today. They will all be available for the club’s tilt with the Broncos on Sunday.

Dec. 8: The Panthers are now a team to monitor regarding COVID-19. They placed eight players on their reserve/COVID-19 list this week, after two tested positive, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Carolina moved several big names — D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, Shaq Thompson, Derrick Brown and Greg Little — along with punter Michael Palardy, defensive tackle Zach Kerr and wide receiver Ishmael Hyman to their coronavirus list this week. At least two of these players will miss Sunday’s game against the Broncos, and the rest of the lot will at least miss some practice time this week. It is not yet certain which Panthers tested positive.

While this is certainly an issue, the Panthers do not appear to have the makings of an outbreak. They reported no new positive COVID-19 tests Tuesday, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). The Panthers closed their facility after the positive tests but are scheduled to reopen it Wednesday.

Carolina will host Denver on Sunday. The Broncos saw their bye rescheduled at the 11th hour earlier this season, when the Patriots encountered positive tests. With no teams having more byes, after the Panthers and Buccaneers concluded theirs in Week 13, the NFL’s options would be limited. However, as the recent Ravens outbreak showed, the league will pull out all the stops to ensure games are now played in their scheduled week.

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Panthers Wrap Draft Class

The Panthers have signed their entire 2020 NFL Draft class, per a club announcement. First-round pick Derrick Brown got the party started in the spring, but the rest waited until this week to put pen to paper. The full rundown:

1-7: Derrick Brown, DT (Auburn): Signed
2-38: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE (Penn State): Signed
2-64: Jeremy Chinn, DB (Southern Illinois): Signed
4-113: Troy Pride Jr., CB (Notre Dame): Signed
5-152: Kenny Robinson, S (West Virginia): Signed
6-184: Bravvion Roy, DT (Baylor): Signed
7-221: Stantley Thomas-Oliver III, CB (Florida International): Signed

Gross-Matos stood out with 17.5 sacks and 37 hurries over the last two seasons, plus solid work against the run. On the flipside, some evaluators had concerns about his bulk. He’ll have to put some more muscle on his 6’5″, 265-pound frame in order to be a reliable three-down defensive lineman.

On the other side of the ball, the Panthers say they’ll be hanging on to wide receiver Curtis Samuel, despite an offseason full of trade rumors.

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Panthers OC: Curtis Samuel To Be Key Part Of Offense

The subject of trade rumors this offseason, Curtis Samuel generated interest around the draft. Teams consistently contacted the Panthers about their contract-year wideout, but he remains in Carolina.

Despite the Panthers signing ex-Matt Rhule Temple receiver Robby Anderson and rostering Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore, the rebuilding team plans to make room for Samuel to play an essential role in its new offense.

Curtis is going to be critical to success,” Panthers OC Joe Brady said, via the Charlotte Observer’s Alaina Getzenberg. “I wish I could have had an opportunity to be out at practices and whatnot, and Curtis is the one that I can’t wait to see him do what he does on the field. Curtis is a playmaker. He fits the mold of what we’re looking for in this type of offense, a guy that you can utilize all around the field and get the ball in the hands and good things happen.

I think you saw stuff last year that shows that he can be a big-play wide receiver, down the field. We’re getting the ball in space, and I’m excited for him to take the next leap.”

Samuel sticking in Carolina for the 2020 season would give the Panthers an interesting array of weaponry. The former second-round pick established career-high numbers in catches (54), receiving yards (627) and touchdowns (six) last season. However, the Panthers added both Seth Roberts and ex-Saint Keith Kirkwood this offseason, forming a crowded receiving corps.

The Panthers have moved on from several cornerstone players this offseason, so a Samuel deal should not be ruled out for a team not expected to be a contender this season. But for now the Panthers are planning to have him in the fold as a flashy fourth option.

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Panthers Open To Trading Curtis Samuel?

The Panthers have been “consistently” receiving calls from clubs interested in wide receiver Curtis Samuel, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. So far, they haven’t been keen on the idea of trading Samuel, but Rapoport says it’s worth monitoring in case they get an offer that’s too good to pass up. 

Right now, the Panthers seem intent on keeping Samuel and the rest of their primary weapons in place for new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. At the same time, the former second-round pick is heading into his contract year, so the Panthers could be swayed if they’re skittish about the cost of his next deal.

Samuel is coming off of a career year with 54 catches for 627 yards and six touchdowns. He’s also an excellent bargain: This year, he’s slated to earn just $1.2MM in salary.

The Panthers want to hold on to Samuel, but they haven’t let sentimentality get in the way this offseason. They’ve also got other receivers behind D.J. Moore, thanks to the signings of Robby Anderson, Seth Roberts, and Pharoh Cooper.

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Panthers Not Shopping Curtis Samuel

The Panthers signed not only Robby Anderson but also Seth Roberts and Keith Kirkwood in free agency. Considering the high-profile players who have left the team this offseason, it would certainly not surprise if the Panthers looked to deal one of their Ron Rivera-era wide receivers.

While Matt Rhule‘s Panthers are believed to be open for business, they do not have Curtis Samuel on the trade block presently, Joseph Person of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The Panthers are interested in keeping as many weapons as possible around for Teddy Bridgewater, Person adds.

Samuel is entering his contract year. The 2017 second-round pick now profiles as Carolina’s No. 3 wideout — behind Anderson and D.J. Moore. Considering Samuel’s $1.2MM 2020 salary, he would generate interest — even on a market that has seen the 2020 rookie receiver class affect veteran wideouts’ stock.

Samuel is coming off his best season, having caught a career-high 54 passes for 627 yards and six touchdowns. He has also contributed as a gadget-type player, logging 31 touches in the run game in his career.

This stands to be a key year for the Ohio State product, with Moore likely residing higher in Carolina’s extension queue and Anderson having an extensive history with Rhule from their Temple days. Samuel could be playing for a 2021 free agency payday. But for now, he will be expected to serve as an auxiliary option for Bridgewater in Joe Brady‘s offense.

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