This week in ‘The 2022 NFL offseason is out of control’: 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel told ESPN’s Jeff Darlington Wednesday that he requested a trade to San Francisco. The request follows a flurry of big-budget receiver moves this offseason (started by, of all culprits, the jaguars and Christian Kirk). The NFL Draft is a week away, which makes the timing of Samuel’s request particularly gripping.

Cue the jersey swaps. Every NFL team could use Samuel on their roster. The 26-year-old is coming off his first All-Pro campaign in which he had 77 receptions for a career-high 1,405 yards and six touchdowns. It also turned out one of the most dynamic tailbacks in the NFL, too, rushing for 365 yards and eight touchdowns, with much of that production coming after Week 9. Coach Kyle Shanahan capitalized on Samuel’s dual-threat ability all the way to the NFC Championship Game. But apparently that’s part of the reason Samuel is looking to leave San Francisco.

By Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, “money is not the root of the problems” for Samuel, as the Niners are ready to offer him a new long-term contract. It boils down to using Samuel. He missed nine games in 2020 after recovering from a broken bone from Jones in the offseason before dealing with hamstring injuries upon his return. Last season, a groin injury dogged the former second-round pick until the end of the season. Samuel would not have wanted to commit to negotiating with San Francisco this offseason, leaving the club in uncertainty as to the future of his no. 1 target. If you’re wondering if that makes sense, here’s how my colleague Ben Solak summed it up concisely:

Samuel is one of a handful of stars left out of the 2019 draft who reportedly suspended offseason programs in hopes of getting a new contract (or in Samuel’s case, walking away from his team altogether). Kirk’s four-year, $72 million ($37 million guaranteed) deal with Jacksonville was followed by Davante Adams leaving the Packers for the Raiders, who signed him to a five-year, $140 million contract. ($65.7 million guaranteed). Then Tyreek Hill worked his way out of the Chiefs before negotiating a four-year, $120 million deal ($72.2 million guaranteed) in a trade with the Dolphins. Earlier this month, the Bills re-signed Stefon Diggs to a four-year, $96 million deal ($70 million guaranteed). Hill ($30 million annual average value, the highest in the league at his position), Adams ($28 million AAV, second) and Diggs ($24 million AAV, fourth) now each rank among receivers the best paid. Samuel is currently averaging $1.8 million on his rookie contract.

Samuel appears to be next in line for a trade and a huge payday. The Niners, who don’t pick until the 61st pick in next week’s draft, would rather keep Samuel. But if they don’t, they could be on the verge of racking up attractive draft capital in exchange for their most dynamic offensive player. Below we take a look at the teams believed to be in the mix for Samuel’s services.


New York Jets

Ceiling space: $17.9 million (by Over the Cape)
Capital project: Choose our. 4, 10, 35, 38, 69

After missing Hill last month, the Jets still need a new star for quarterback Zach Wilson. And this potential marriage would make a lot of sense. New York coach Robert Saleh, offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and receivers coach Miles Austin were all on the 2019 49ers coaching staff during Samuel’s rookie season. That familiarity could give the Jets an edge in understanding how best to use Samuel. A New York receiving corps of Samuel, Elijah Moore and Corey Davis, with new tight ends CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, would form the most dynamic passing offense the Jets had had in years. It would also arm their young QB with the star power needed to help him jump into his second season. For now, however, it might be unlikely…according to New York Daily News‘s DJ Bien-Aime IIthe Jets don’t believe Samuel will actually be traded.

Green Bay Packers

Ceiling space: $14 million
Capital project: Choose our. 22, 28, 53, 59, 92

The Packers reception group is sterile. Green Bay’s offense largely revolved around Adams, who led the team with 169 targets and 123 catches, accounting for more than a third of the Packers’ catches and receiving yards. They also lost Marques Valdes-Scantling, their deep threat, to the Chiefs in free agency. The addition of Sammy Watkins should help, but the Packers are still lacking a reliable and important no. 1 wide for Aaron Rodgers. Samuel isn’t quite Adams’ caliber, but he could definitely help fill that void.

Like the Jets staff, coach Matt LaFleur has experience coaching under Shanahan. In Green Bay, Samuel would find a system with familiar roots and be able to catch assists from the back-to-back reigning MVP on a team with championship aspirations.

Kansas City Chiefs

Ceiling space: $18.2 million
Capital project: Choose our. 29, 30, 50, 62, 94

Hill is gone, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Valdes-Scantling are there. Coach Andy Reid is known for creating exciting and productive passing games, and arming Patrick Mahomes with Samuel would produce fireworks. Hill has been used in a variety of roles within the KC offense – he played 508 snaps in the slot and 520 outside for the Chiefs last season, by Pro Football Focus– and Samuel could be positioned for a similar use. Despite all the league-changing moves in the AFC West, the Chiefs have yet to make their own acquisition. Maybe Samuel could be the one. According to Josina Andersonthe Chiefs are not pursuing Samuel at this time, with their goal set on the draft.

Indianapolis Colts

Ceiling space: $20 million
Capital project: Choose our. 42, 73

The Colts need to capitalize on the strong roster that general manager Chris Ballard has built. That’s why they traded for Matt Ryan in March, and that’s why a deal for Samuel might also make sense. Indianapolis has one of the best young receivers in the league in Michael Pittman Jr., but their receiving squad is pretty disappointing aside from him and tight end Mo Alie-Cox. The Colts lack draft capital, which the Niners will likely be looking for in any potential deal. But Indianapolis has the immediate ceiling space to board Samuel. Adding him would make the Colts a serious competitor to the AFC South.

Philadelphia Eagles

Ceiling space: $15.6 million
Capital project: Choose our. 15, 18, 51, 83

The Eagles have shown a willingness to invest in their receiving corps over the years, selecting JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Jalen Reagor and DeVonta Smith in successive drafts. But Philadelphia is still missing something in its receiving ranks, and Samuel could help the unit take the next step by providing a strong complement to Smith. The Eagles have already had their fill of premium picks in next year’s draft, so they may be considering giving up one of their top two players from this year to acquire Samuel. It would be the biggest show of confidence in quarterback Jalen Hurts to date and give the third-year passer a real opportunity to prove he can be the franchise’s long-term QB.

Atlanta Falcons

Ceiling space: $3 million
Capital project: Choose our. 8, 43, 58, 74, 82

With Calvin Ridley suspended, Atlanta’s receiving squad could definitely use a jolt. Samuel would give coach Arthur Smith a wide game capable of being used like a Swiss army knife which led to Cordarrelle Patterson’s revival campaign. (As long as Samuel is okay with taking over that role.) Atlanta is in the midst of a rebuild and faces a long road to becoming competitive again, but the Falcons are among the most obvious teams in the NFL that need WR.

Detroit Lions

Ceiling space: $18 million
Capital Project: Picks nos. 2, 32, 34, 66, 97

In terms of cultural fit, it makes perfect sense that Lions coach Dan Campbell would like to add a player like Samuel, who on average 4.1 yards after contact per carry last season. But the big question would be whether or not Detroit should be ready to sink a lot of money into Samuel. This offseason, the Lions have already added DJ Chark and Josh Reynolds to the fold after enjoying a stellar rookie year from Amon-Ra St. Brown and surprising production from Kalif Raymond.

Houston Texans

Ceiling space: $24.6 million
Capital project: Choose our. 3, 13, 37, 68, 80

By Athleticismby Tim Kawakami, the Texans could be a team to watch in the receiver market heading into the draft. Houston just re-signed Brandin Cooks to a two-year extension worth $39.8 million ($36 million guaranteed), but could continue to surround second-year QB Davis Mills with talent in the future. outside. Still, even though Houston currently has the third most cap space available, that might be unlikely with the Texans rebuilding under general manager Nick Caserio. Recently retired Houston Chronicle writer John McClain appeared to drop the idea of ​​swapping for Samuel on Wednesday afternoon, Tweeter that giving the catcher “a gargantuan contract” at this time doesn’t seem likely given that Houston loves its current receiving roster.