The most vital part of the San Francisco’s 2021 offense now wants out. On Wednesday it was reported that wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who finished last season with over 1,700 total yards and 14 touchdowns, has asked the 49ers for a trade.
Samuel joins Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill among the top-tier receivers who are looking for ways out from their team. Adams ended up in Las Vegas, Hill with the Dolphins — and now with the draft looming and teams piecing together their rosters it’s unclear who could pull the trigger on a deal, and who has the funds to even land Samuel, then sign him to an extension.
There are a couple of obvious names that come to mind. Cleveland would love a top-tier receiver to pair with Deshaun Watson, but no longer have the assets to make a deal after their mammoth trade. Similarly one has to imagine that Mike McDaniel and the Dolphins would be all-in, but they’ve already invested a ton into their trade for Hill.
The 49ers aren’t in a rush to make the deal, but should they decide to go for it, here are the teams I think have the space, and the need to pull the trigger on a Deebo Samuel trade.
To me, the Colts are the most obvious answer here. Michael Pittman Jr. has established himself as a breakout receiver, but the team is desperately in need of another option. After trading for Matt Ryan the team is in win-now mode, and thinks it has the roster to really compete in the AFC — Samuel would be that missing piece of the puzzle.
Over half of Samuel’s yards came from yards after the catch (YAC) last year with Jimmy Garoppolo under center. At this point both Ryan and Jimmy G have similar arms, so there’s a natural fit here as well. In addition one can only imagine pairing Samuel’s speed as a gadget runner with Jonathan Taylor’s every-down power.
The Colts are lacking a first this year from their Carson Wentz trade, but future assets could be appealing here.
Kansas City Chiefs
God help us.
I don’t think I need to expand on this one too much. The Chiefs were already being penciled in for a wide receiver this draft, and they have back-to-back picks at No. 29 and No. 30 thank to the Hill trade. It’s easy to imagine the 49ers being willing to send Samuel to the AFC, and get back the pick that was originally theirs (plus a little more).
Samuel is plug-and-play perfection in Kansas City, and would immediately fill the void left by Hill in a very similar role. The Chiefs also have just over $18M in cap space, making it possible to sign Samuel to a big-money extension now, and worry about the huge dollars on the back end.
New York Jets
If we move away from winning teams, we have an organization here with ample draft assets, and a dire need for help at WR. If Zach Wilson can’t succeed with Deebo Samuel in the offense, then you might as well start looking at pulling the plug.
While the Jets’ draft picks are high (No. 4 and No. 10), it would also mean less overall picks in a deal. Maybe one Top 10 pick would be enough to get the deal done, and Samuel is a proven commodity over a top draft receiver like Garrett Wilson.
Green Bay Packers
I know we’ve been all AFC up to this point, but should the 49ers be okay sending Samuel to an NFC contender then Green Bay makes a lot of sense. While the Packers don’t have the cap flexibility of the other teams on this list (a shade over $14M right now), they can provide a winning environment and a top-tier quarterback.
There is no doubt this team would make noise, and there are draft assets to be had with the No. 22 and No. 28 picks, one of which could be sent in a package. The Packers need a top-tier receiver if they hope to compete, and this could be their out.