The Washington Football Team's signing in NFL free agency of wide receiver Curtis Samuel has been almost universally celebrated, both inside the WFT HQ and outside, by pretty hungry fans and often harsh critics.
But there is one contrarian ... and surely the point here, in labeling the Samuel signing an "ugly blemish'' on the WFT's work, is about being a contrarian.
It's Bleacher Report, which in its piece entitled - "Every NFL Team's Worst Free-Agent Signing of the 2021 Offseason'' - goes about the business of attempting to analyze, in-depth, 32 teams' efforts ... with a scathing perspective. (Thus, you know, the headline.)
Unless a reporter is especially plugged in to 32 teams, this is a virtually impossible undertaking, if the true goal is to get it right. Indeed, to analyze even one team's collection of signings requires being plugged in in order to get it right.
Bleacher Report does not get this right.
Author Alex Kay eases into his critique by acknowledging that Samuel is "intriguing'' ... "a versatile playmaker who is a threat to break a home run each time he touches the ball'' ... and that "It's no surprise the Washington Football Team wanted him to fill out a receiving corps that desperately needed to add another weapon next to Terry McLaurin.''
Indeed, in this space, we wrote at great length - well before Samuel signed here - that he would be a need-filling WFT target.
So what's the problem?
"This pairing,'' B/R asserts, "may be ill-fated.''
Kay's odd reasoning: Samuel's breakout year in 2020 came after the departure from Carolina of coach Ron Rivera. The weird suggestion is that Rivera's coaching of the Panthers held back Samuel, which would be slightly more acceptable, but for the fact that ...
Rivera, having signed him, and Samuel, having signed with Rivera, obviously disagree.
In fact, Rivera - as the coach who drafted Samuel - has now signed the 24-year old twice. And we're to believe they are somehow bad for each other?
Samuel, B/R insists, can only justify his three-year, $34.5 million contract by matching his 2020 output (career-highs in receptions with 77 and receiving yards with 851). That, frankly, is Fantasy Football thinking. And to claim, as Kay does, that "it won't be a surprise if Samuel regresses a bit now that he's playing under head coach Ron Rivera for a second time,'' is irresponsible.
Bleacher Report phrases the Samuel signing as an "ugly blemish.'' That's a nasty way to issue an invalid analysis. But that's what contrarians sometimes do.