Although wide receiver doesn’t rank at the top of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster needs this offseason, they should not neglect the position. If they are interested in adding talent in free agency, they should consider signing Curtis Samuel, who is scheduled to hit the open market.
Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network believes the ‘Jags’ should target Samuel in free agency. He brings up the fact the 2017 second-round played for head coach Urban Meyer at Ohio State and believes the wide receiver could be the same dual-threat he was for Meyer in 2016, when he had 97 carries for 771 yards with eight touchdowns and hauled in 74 receptions for 865 yards and seven touchdowns.
Solak adds that Carolina Panthers’ offensive coordinator Joe Barry made the most out of Samuel’s skill set in 2020. However, he thinks he could be even more productive in Jacksonville, where Meyer would find ways to maximize his talent.
In his four-year career, the New York native has caught 185 receptions for 2,087 yards and 14 touchdowns. Pro Football Focus predicts he will get a three-year $25 million contract in the offseason, which would be rather affordable for a wide receiver with his production.
Would Curtis Samuel be an upgrade for the Jacksonville Jaguars?
DJ Chark Jr. will be the Jaguars’ number one wide receiver in 2021 and Laviska Shenault Jr., who displayed flashes of playmaking prowess in his rookie season, should start opposite of him. However, Jacksonville’s wide receiver depth chart becomes a little blurry after those two, as Keelan Cole and Chris Conley are scheduled to become free agents.
Collin Johnson showed promise in 2020 but the ‘Jags’ may be better off signing someone in the open market if they don’t bring back Cole or Conley. The former has been a reliable target throughout his four-year career in Jacksonville but may want to hit the open market and get paid.
If the Jaguars are unable to keep Conley, they should pursue Samuel. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make much sense to allocate so much money to their wide receiver unit. Chark will become a free agent after 2021 and Jacksonville may struggle to lock him up if they pay both Conley and Samuel.
If the Jaguars want to keep Conley and still add depth to their wide receiver group, they should use a middle-round selection on a prospect such as Shu Smith or Cornell Powell in the 2021 NFL Draft instead of paying Samuel.
The Meyer connection may play a role if the Jaguars decide to target Samuel in free agency, but they will probably have better options and one of them may already be on the roster, so even though it would be nice to see a reunion, the team should sit this one out.