3 Former Panthers Carolina Should Sign for a Reunion in Free Agency

The Panthers need plenty of help this offseason, and reunions with a few familiar faces could be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Oct 3, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) celebrates with
Oct 3, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) celebrates with / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Carolina Panthers are in an incredibly tough spot this offseason. They desperately need to get Bryce Young the right supporting cast to avoid stalling his NFL development, but they also don't have a first-round pick.

That means free agency is going to be crucially important. And unlike some rebuilding teams, they can't only focus on young high-upside signings. They'll also need some veteran talent to help steer this offense in the right direction.

Some of those veterans could be players familiar with Carolina. A handful of intriguing former Panthers are set to be available when free agency opens, and these three should be targeted for a reunion.

1. Curtis Samuel, WR

Curtis Samuel never developed into the WR1 it looked like he had the potential to be when the Panthers selected him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, but he's certainly established himself as a capable contributor.

He was explosive but a little one-dimensional early in his career in Carolina, but his three seasons in Washington have shown a more complete and mature game from the 27-year-old.

Early on, Samuel was almost purely a deep threat. In his first high-volume season (2019, when he saw 105 targets), Samuel had an average depth of target (aDOT) of 14.6 yards. He was almost exclusively a field stretcher.

That started to change in his final season with the Panthers in 2020, but it really continued through his time in Washington. His aDOT fell below 7.0 yards in each of those years. If anything, they forced him into too much of a short-yardage role.

Samuel still has the high-end speed to work deep, so this new ability to work underneath really rounds out his game well.

The Panthers should certainly spend at least one draft pick on a young receiver, but Samuel would give Young a capable veteran target to lean on while the younger players get up to speed.