What to make of Steve Smith’s criticism of Curtis Samuel
By Jerry Trotta
The Washington Football Team’s 2021 free agent class hasn’t been one for the record books. Well, not the good records, anyway.
While under-the-radar additions like DeAndre Carter and Adam Humphries have performed well, the team’s high-profile additions have yet to live up to their billing.
Barring an unexpected return, Ryan Fitzpatrick will end up playing less than a half of football in the Burgundy and Gold before his one-year deal expires.
William Jackson III, meanwhile, was a turnstile in the secondary over the first two months of the season. The $42 million cornerback has at least shown signs of improvement since returning from a knee injury, leaving fans to believe a second turnaround is in the works.
The last big-money signing of the 2021 class is Curtis Samuel, the man of the hour despite hardly sniffing the field this season.
Last week, Samuel was subject to unbridled criticism from Steve Smith, a former Pro Bowl receiver turned talking head who is quickly establishing himself as the NFL’s version of Skip Bayless in regard to hot takes.
Steve Smith went scorched earth on Washington wideout Curtis Samuel.
If you thought that quote was harsh, wait until you read the whole thing.
"“Y’all paid Curtis Samuel $75 million. You know why?” Smith asked. “Because (offensive coordinator) Scott Turner is comfortable with him, he knows what he’s gonna get. Y’all overpaid, good luck. Thank you. Next . . . ”“I have no problem with Curtis. But I’m just evaluating. $75 million for you to be the best third-down wide receiver, which he was great. You don’t get a parade averaging 46 catches, under 50, 60 yards and then you’re unhealthy.”"
Smith claims to have no issues with Samuel, but insisted on continuing to bash the former second-round pick.
"“He was hurt when they got him here. Okay, that’s fine. But now you suffer because you used all this equity for a guy that isn’t gonna play, can’t play and when he does, doesn’t really move the radar. People aren’t shaking in their boots to play Curtis Samuel. Never have, never will. Sorry.”"
What a hunk of garbage that is. For starters, Samuel isn’t on a $75 million contract. Nice going, Smith. Maybe try conducting a semblance of research before you hop on Washington radio and start bashing one of the team’s players? From one WR to another, that would seem like the respectful thing to do.
Not only did Smith get Samuel’s contract terms wrong, but he wasn’t even in the vicinity. Samuel signed a three-year, $34.5 million deal. Only if you cut $75 million in half would Smith enter the ballpark of Samuel’s actual earnings.
For added context, Samuel is pocketing $11 million annually, making him the 21st highest-earning receiver in the league, per Spotrac.
That alone should have destroyed Smith’s credibility, because it’s what he based his entire argument around. However, he continued to rant about Samuel being hurt when Washington got him. That’s…not true. His groin injury cropped up early in the offseason, yes, but not until OTAs.
He also played 15 games for Carolina last year, but whatever.
Again, Smith claimed to have no qualms with Samuel, and then directly says he doesn’t “move the radar” and defenders aren’t “shaking in their boots” to play against him. That’s weird. The last time we checked, Samuel racked up over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and five total touchdowns last campaign.
Keep in mind he was largely the fourth option in the passing game behind DJ Moore, Robby Anderson and Christian McCaffrey, too. His numbers were expected to skyrocket in Ashburn. The move just hasn’t panned out (yet) due a fluke injury that’s taken an obscene amount of time to heal properly.
Maybe we’re being too compassionate, but to rip Samuel apart when he’s barely seen the field and is clearly pressing to return was totally uncalled for on Smith’s part.
Whether or not you believe Samuel will become a success in the Burgundy and Gold, it’s never OK for a so called “analyst” to make things personal and eviscerate him on local radio while also spreading misinformation.
If there was ever a time to back Samuel, it’s now.
If he overcomes this injury and becomes the difference-maker Washington signed him to be, Smith’s credibility will never be the same…even though he’ll likely never own up to it and apologize.