This Starter Won't Be Back With the Panthers in 2021

Carolina Panthers WR Curtis Samuel is entering a contract year.
Carolina Panthers WR Curtis Samuel is entering a contract year. | Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Heading into the 2020 season, the Carolina Panthers will have the spotlight on them after an offseason marked by an expensive head coach hiring and big time changes to central pieces of the roster.

While the Panthers ultimately decided to let quarterback Cam Newton go despite him missing the season due to injury woes, new head coach Matt Rhule is going to have a spread of talent to evaluate on both sides of the ball. For some players, those evaluations could decide whether they receive a new contract in 2021. One important area to keep an eye on is the Carolina receiving corps.

Fans might have to come to reality with the fact Curtis Samuel might not be back with the team in 2021.

The Panthers enter the 2020 season with a trio of receivers for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to utilize -- D.J Moore, former Jet Robby Anderson, and Samuel. Moore and Samuel return from the disappointing 2019 season, however if competition becomes fierce, we could see one of the three heading elsewhere when the 2020 season concludes.

Outside of Christian McCaffrey, Samuel was by far Carolina's biggest weapon on the offensive side of the ball. He finished his 2019 campaign with 54 receptions for 627 yards and six touchdowns. What made him uniquely special to Carolina's offense was his ability to create separation downfield and make an impact as a rusher.

However, the Panthers bringing in Robby Anderson raises some questions. Will Bridgewater lean on Samuel as much with Anderson in the picture? Will he be as much of a focus in a deep ball game that Anderson thrives in? Let's not forget he had seven drops last year, too.

On the flip side, what if Samuel has a career year? He could very well price himself out of Carolina. He also may not be happy with the franchise after he was reportedly floated in trade talks this offseason.

Don't look now, but this could easily be Samuel's last year with the Panthers.