Curtis Samuel set career highs in not only receiving yards and catches but rushing yards and attempts as well. Now, the skilled and versatile offensive weapon for the Carolina Panthers is set to enter NFL free agency. The Chicago Bears are going to need to add wide receivers no matter what happens with Allen Robinson.
Is Curtis Samuel the type of offensive help that could put the Chicago Bears over the edge, or should they look another direction?
What would a contract for Curtis Samuel in free agency look like?
Over the Cap has him valued at $7 million per year. Spotrac is a bit more optimistic, giving him $12 million per year coming on a 4-year deal at nearly $50 million. PFF has him estimated at 3-years, $25 million which is $8.33 million per year.
$7-$12 million per year is a bit of a gap, but the $8.33 may be the happy medium and overall we could reduce it to $8-$10 million per year.
The Chicago Bears should sign Curtis Samuel in NFL Free Agency
It took a few years, but Matt Rhule and Joe Brady highlighted the versatility of Samuel which guided his career year. Over the first three years, Samuel averaged 3.3 yards after the catch per reception which went up 4.3 last season. However, his average depth of target also went down from 11.9 t o14.6 to 7.3 last season.
Obviously, he also was used much more in the run game as well. The Panthers clearly were interested in getting the ball in his hands quickly and giving him room to work. When you look at the player that Samuel is, it is the player that Matt Nagy loves. He is a smaller, faster, more effective Cordarelle Patterson.
He can motion into a variety of positions including the backfield and can work in a quick passing offense that needs receivers to excel after the catch. Both Samuel and Darnell Mooney are undersized speed threats, but Mooney had an average depth of target of 11.5 as a rookie. He also was never used in the return game and is much more straight line than horizontal.
Samuel is much more of a compliment of lateral speed to Mooney than he is a redundant copy of Mooney. The duo, along with the addition of Tarik Cohen to the offense would give this group a lot of speed, and a lot of motions to add misdirection, and help the quarterback both pre-and-post snap. Versatility, motion, getting the ball out of the quarterback’s hands quickly, distributing to playmakers. This guy is a Matt Nagy dream.
The Chicago Bears do not need to sign Curtis Samuel in free agency
The Chicago Bears have enough gadget players. Samuel is essentially just Tarik Cohen and Cordarelle Patterson in one player. That is great, but Cohen is back and the Bears intend to re-sign Patterson.
The Bears need to add to the receiver room but need a true dominant threat at receiver, especially if Allen Robinson is expected to leave. Curtis Samuel has spent most of his time running out of the slot if he is not moving when the ball is snapped due to lateral motion. He is a nice luxury, but the Bears have to add size and a go up and get it receiver, and Samuel does not fit that.