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Thursday Explanations: If Not Curtis Samuel, Then Who?

Curtis Samuel makes perfect sense for the Washington Football Team, but if isn’t walking out of that tunnel, then who should be?

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Cincinnati Bengals Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

We promised a QB-free show this week and did our best to deliver...here is the link, and I thank you in advance for subscribing:

There is no real secret involved when it comes to the need at wide receiver for the Washington Football Team. It goes beyond the notion that “we live in a pass-happy league,” which defines every team’s need at the position. In Washington, we have been without a truly deep and talent-rich wide receiver corps for quite some time. You can point to the Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts group; you can point to the Santana Moss, Brandon Lloyd, Antwaan Randle El, James Thrash corps (I wouldn’t); hell, you can point to the...you know what, let’s stop with the nonsense. When talking about great wide receiving corps’ in Washington football history, it’s The Posse, and that’s it. Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders. You could bring up The Smurfs or sprinkle in a little Fun Bunch for old time’s sake, but if you really look at how we have endeavored to “get it done” at the wide receiver position over the last 20 years, it is not very inspiring (the Josh Doctson, Jehu Chesson, Darvin Kidsy, Michael Floyd, Jamison Crowder grouping from 2018 is especially soul-crushing).

It hasn’t been for lack of trying, either. We have signed free agents. We have drafted rookies. For reasons that are too plentiful to list, the WFT has failed to put any kind of fright into opposing defensive coordinators. Enter Scary Terry. Regardless of where he was drafted or why he was drafted (irregardless even), McLaurin is a true #1 receiver. His ability to get open at will is precisely the essence of what it means to be a legit #1 guy. When everyone knows you are the target, yet you still find yourself running free, you earn that title. Terry McLaurin locks down the most important step in building a solid wide receiving corps: establishing a dominant, alpha male option that the entire team feels comfy turning to when they need a play.

With McLaurin in the fold, adding one or two legit playmakers at wide receiver has the WFT on the edge of getting that coveted “corps” that powers a passing game. There will be options this offseason, but it remains to be seen exactly who will be available and which of those available players actually wants to come to DC to play ball. I have been screaming for Kenny Golladay for months, but he is on the verge of getting franchise tagged in Detroit—which is the smartest thing Detroit will have done in quite some time. Chris Godwin, the uber-talent down in Tampa Bay, comes available this offseason, and he will carry a hefty price tag—likely at or above $17 million per year. On one hand, Tampa could do what it takes to keep him. If he does hit free agency, I am not sold he would want to come to DC because of our unsettled quarterback situation. This could be a recurring theme as multiple free agent wide receivers mull over who will be throwing them the ball.

The one possible free agent that could have interest in playing for us, and playing in this scheme is Curtis Samuel. He knows Ron Rivera well and he understands Scott Turner’s offense. My biggest concern about Samuel’s availability is that Carolina understands what they have in the 24-year old and won’t let him leave town. If he hits the market, he will also be paid an average annual value in the mid-teens. I would do this in a heartbeat because he fits not only our offense, but he fits our culture. He is tough, physical, and extremely multiple. He can line up just about anywhere and do damage.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of wide receiver free agents, it is a path I would work down when looking to lock up a great wide receiver group. The opportunity to go from good to great is there, which is why Golladay and Godwin have to be the first considerations. The pairing of McLaurin and Samuel immediately increases our playmaking ability on offense and provides an instant boost to the efficiency of whomever will be lining up under center.

If these players are either unavailable or uninterested, I still think there is an option that accomplishes my goal of upgrading both the wide receiver room and the offense as a whole: Corey Davis. I love this player and I have convinced myself I would take him over Allen Robinson. That said, I would OF COURSE love to have Allen Robinson on my team, but the buzz that has started to surround Robinson coming here is the surest sign that he ain’t EVER coming here.

Maybe I’m just protecting myself.

Corey Davis is a Ron Rivera kind of football player. He is big, physical, blocks well, and has spent his initial years in the league polishing his route-running and professionalism. He wants the ball in clutch moments, and was leaned on to pick up serious slack as teams loaded up on A.J. Brown. He was a go-to player on big third downs, and he was a key cog in an offense that used Derrick Henry to tilt the field. He has pedigree, even if you would call his first tour of duty in the league short of the lofty expectations many attach to wideouts taken at #5 overall. My guess is that he will still collect a solid payday, but you could end up paying a Corey Davis $5-$7 million per year less than a Golladay, Godwin or even Samuel. Of course, a bidding war would change all of that, but that savings (no matter what it is) could be put to good use in other spots on the field.

I get that all of this wide receiver talk literally hinges on the as of yet unresolved situation at quarterback, but this week, we were QB-free on the show...so that explains that.