We’ll be breaking down all the major and minor moves for NFL Free Agency with grades and analysis. You can find the comprehensive list of moves and grades here.
Reported deal: Three years/$34.5 million
2020 was the breakout everyone was hoping would develop from Curtis Samuel and that led to optimism for his free agent market. A match with Washington and former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was always speculated with the need to add another receiving option next to Terry McLaurin.
The reunion makes sense but it’s also worth noting Samuel will be returning to the coaching staff (including offensive coordinator Scott Turner) who couldn’t fully get the most out of the receiver when he was in Carolina.
Check out Samuel’s heat maps from 2018 and 2019:
Then compare that to what it looked like in 2020:
Under Joe Brady this past season, Samuel spent more time in the slot and was used more over the middle of the field. That easily led to his most productive season in the NFL. The majority of his targets came from the slot and his average depth of target was cut nearly in half. That allowed Samuel to get in space more and create after the catch.
Curtis Samuel Usage, 2018-2020
With Samuel, Washington now has a versatile set of playmakers along with Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic but in order for his old coaching staff to get the most out of him, they’ll need to take some lessons from the year they had apart.