Deebo Samuel and the San Francisco 49ers are set to potentially shake up the NFL Draft


Deebo Samuel fights off Jalen Ramsey.AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
  • Deebo Samuel has requested a trade from the San Francisco 49ers.

  • With the request coming just days before the NFL Draft, the stakes are high.

  • Samuel is one of the most dynamic players in the league, and wide receiver contracts are currently running hot.

Deebo Samuel wants out.

Last week, Samuel told ESPN’s Jeff Darlington that he had requested a trade from the San Francisco 49ers. Samuel didn’t provide a reason for his request, but as other superstar wide receivers like Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams signed massive new deals this off-season after joining new teams, and with Samuel entering the last season of his rookie contract, it feels as though the 49ers playmaker is rightfully looking for a new deal of his own.

Coming just days before the NFL Draft, the timing of Samuel’s request has the potential to shake up the league. While the 49ers could hold firm and keep Samuel in scarlet and gold for another year, there’s no doubt teams will be interested in taking him if San Francisco makes him available, and with the draft set to begin on April 28, a deal could be imminent if the price is right.

Deebo Samuel is an elite offensive weapon, and he won’t come cheap

This off-season has already seen a slew of stud wide receivers on the move, with teams giving up boatloads of picks in trades and awarding hefty contracts on top of that to lock down their new stars.

Former Chiefs superstar Tyreek Hill was traded to the Miami Dolphins for a first-, second- and fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, along with two more late-round picks in 2023. Upon arriving to Miami, the Dolphins promptly signed Hill to a four-year, $120 million extension that included more than $72 million in guaranteed money. The deal made Hill the highest-paid receiver in football.

Similarly, former Aaron Rodgers confidant Davante Adams was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders, with the silver-and-black sending Green Bay their first- and second-round picks in this year’s draft in the deal. Again, when Adams arrived in Las Vegas, the Raiders signed him to a monster deal: five years, $141.25 million, including $67.5 million in fully guaranteed money.

Deebo Samuel could demand a similar price, both in terms of picks and new money, should the 49ers decide to move him. In 2021, Samuel led the NFL in yards-per-reception and yards-per-target. He also finished the season with 14 total touchdowns.

Samuel’s burst is elite. He has a knack for coming down with a catch in the middle of a pack of defenders and leaving them in a cloud of dust like the Road Runner brushing past Wile E. Coyote.

But what sets Samuel apart from other receivers in the league is how the 49ers use him in their offense, where he is as much a rushing threat as he is a receiver. Of his 14 touchdowns, eight came on the ground, most ever for a player who is technically a wide receiver.

“Get the ball to X-player, however you can,” might sound like an oversimplified strategy, but for San Francisco, it’s been pretty effective.

Given Samuel’s talents, there will undoubtedly be a market for him — where he goes, and at what price, will depend on the bidding war that follows.

The Packers and Jets stand out as potential suitors for Deebo Samuel heading into 2022

If San Francisco is going to move forward with a potential deal, there are plenty of teams that would be interested in Samuel’s services.

The Packers are in need of a standout wide receiver after the departure of Adams, and with the team already taking things year-by-year with Rodgers under center, there’s no time like the present to make a move.

Further, the Packers are loaded with draft capital and a bit of extra cap space, thanks to sending Adams off to Las Vegas. While they could elect to take their pick out of the talented wide receivers in this year’s draft class, the Packers would be getting a sure bet with Samuel leading their receiving corps.

Deebo Samuel makes a play against the Green Bay Packers.

Deebo Samuel makes a play against the Green Bay Packers.AP Photo/Tony Avelar

What’s less clear is whether the 49ers would be willing to make a deal with the Packers. Even with Green Bay’s extra picks from the Adams deal, San Francisco might be hesitant to trade such a talented player to a fellow NFC team, who would be a potential playoff threat down the line.

If the 49ers are hesitant to move Samuel within the NFC, things line up nicely for the Jets, who have plenty of draft ammo. New York was reportedly very interested in trading for Tyreek Hill before he was ultimately moved to the Dolphins, and Samuel is looking like the next standout wide-out to possibly hit the market. With two picks in the top 10 and five picks the top 70 in this year’s draft alone, the Jets could make an offer few teams could match in making a play for Samuel.

Outside of the Jets and Packers, the Chiefs, who traded away their No. 1 receiver in Tyreek Hill, could also opt to immediately reload with Samuel lining up on the outside.

Whether Samuel gets moved, and where he goes, could potentially come down to draft night

It’s still unclear whether the 49ers are actually interested in making good on Samuel’s request.

San Francisco general manager John Lynch came out pretty strongly against the idea of ​​trading Samuel on Monday.

“I can’t ever imagine wanting to move on from Deebo,” Lynch said. “You put yourself through the exercises of, even though we don’t have a first-round pick, you have to be thorough in this process and prepare for everything. So, you go through it and do that. He’s just too good of a player…. We’ve got nothing but love for him and nothing but appreciation for what he’s brought, but you just don’t let guys like that walk. So, I can’t envision a scenario where we would [trade him].”

Deebo Samuel runs past 49ers general manager John Lynch after a win over the Seahawks in 2019.

Deebo Samuel runs past 49ers general manager John Lynch after a win over the Seahawks in 2019.AP Photo/Stephen Brashear

While one could take Lynch at his word here, “we’re not going to trade him” is also a regular part of the song and dance that often leads up to players of Samuel’s caliber eventually getting traded.

If the 49ers are going to make a move though, there’s a good chance it doesn’t happen until draft night. San Francisco will want to have locked down as many variables as possible before sending away a star receiver. If a player they’ve got their eye on falls to the spot that one of their potential trade partners is picking in, the details of the deal could be hammered out while on the clock.

There’s a chance that the one to reveal the Samuel trade will be NFL commissioner Roger Goodell himself, on stage, in Las Vegas.

Then again, there’s also the chance that Lynch stays true to his word.

Either way, the 49ers will be one of the teams to watch come Thursday night.

Read the original article on Insider





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