WR Curtis Samuel tweaks groin, will he play vs. Chargers in Week 1?

Washington WR Curtis Samuel tweaked his groin in practice on Wednesday. Will he be able to play in Week 1 vs. the Chargers?

Washington Football Team wide receiver Curtis Samuel’s troublesome groin injury suffered a setback prior to practice Wednesday, putting his availability for WFT’s season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers in doubt.

Update 9/10/21: According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Washington’s head coach Ron Rivera says WR Curtis Samuel is going on IR due to a groin injury.

Will Curtis Samuel play in Week 1?

Samuel warmed up with the team and then tapped out before any drills began Wednesday, prompting Washington’s medical staff to evaluate further.

“We’ll continue to monitor and see how he’s doing tomorrow,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “He came out, warmed up, and wasn’t quite feeling as well as we’d hoped he would so we’ll just continue to monitor it and see how he feels tomorrow morning.”

When asked how Samuel, who has barely practiced this summer, felt on Monday, Rivera replied:

“He felt pretty good on Monday, so we’ll just continue to monitor it going forward.”

Samuel has been dealing with what has become a months-long groin issue since OTAs, and Washington slow-played his return in hopes of avoiding this very scenario. When PFN visited Washington’s camp last month, the sense was Samuel would be ready for the opener, barring a setback.

Samuel signed a three-year, $34.5 million deal with Washington in the offseason. He averaged 11.3 yards per reception and caught 14 touchdowns in four years with the Carolina Panthers.

The move was designed to bolster a Washington receiving group that was far too reliant on Terry McLaurin in 2020. McLaurin’s 1,118 receiving yards was nearly a third of Washington’s total last year.

Missing Samuel would set Washington’s offense back

If Samuel can’t go, the burden falls most heavily on McLaurin again. But Washington does have other options on the outside.

Washington signed Adam Humphries this offseason, and Rivera has him penciled in as a starter on WFT’s depth chart. Humphries caught 23 passes for 228 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Titans in 2020. A reasonable expectation is for him to be the slot in Week 1.

Then there’s rookie Dyami Brown, who has been a stud in his first offseason, earning first-team reps with his big-play ability.

Brown averaged 18.7 yards per catch in his three years at North Carolina. He could develop into one of new quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s top home-run threats. Brown is in line for the biggest promotion if Samuel cannot go.

Samuel’s fantasy outlook in Week 1

Samuel’s availability for Washington’s Week 1 matchup with the Chargers is in jeopardy. His absence would provide an opportunity for third-round rookie Brown to play additional snaps.

This is disappointing news for Samuel who is coming off of a splendid season. He averaged 14 PPR fantasy points per game, finishing as a WR2 or better in 47% of his 15 active games with the Panthers last year. Samuel’s situation will be worth monitoring as soft tissue injuries can linger.

Adam Beasley is the National NFL Analyst and Insider for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Adam’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter @AdamHBeasley.