Patriots: 3 sneaky moves Pats should make in free agency

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Panthers WR Curtis Samuel (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

1. Sign Curtis Samuel

Curtis Samuel’s dynamism would be invaluable on the Patriots’ offense.

The Patriots’ need for a game-breaking receiver has been tangible over the last two seasons, as veteran Julian Edelman’s age appears to finally be catching up with him and N’Keal Harry has simply underwhelmed since being taken in the first round of the 2019 draft.

Former undrafted talent Jakobi Meyers showed enough this past campaign — he led the Patriots in targets (81), receptions (59), receiving yards (729), and yards per target (9.0) — to justify him having a prominent role on the offense moving forward, but he’s really the only member of the corps that strikes confidence into fans.

That, in theory, leaves the Pats needing to make two additions at the position this offseason. While the jury is still out on who they might sign to be their new No. 1, finding a way to land Curtis Samuel in free agency as a No. 2 option would pay massive dividends next season. The 24-year-old speedster fell to third in the receiving pecking order with the Panthers in 2020, so he’ll no doubt be looking to sign with a team that can guarantee him a reasonably high target share.

It goes without saying that New England, whose aerial attack figures to make significant improvements next season following the departure of Cam Newton, can offer him just that. With a career 11.3 yards per reception, Samuel is largely mistaken as a one-trick pony in terms of only being able to catch deep balls. However, his polished route running and elusiveness prove he can be an excellent possession receiver.

Not only is Samuel dependable as a pass catcher, but he can be deployed in various different packages as a runner, as he logged 200 rushing yards and two touchdowns on an impressive 4.9 yards per carry. If there was ever an under-the-radar signing who could prove to be the steal of free agency, it’s the 2019 second-rounder.