Deebo Samuel was probably the best weapon in the NFL last season with an insane stat line. His receiving numbers (77 catches, 1405 yards, six touchdowns, a league-leading 18.2 yards per catch) make him a star but adding his rushing numbers along with it (365 yards, eight touchdowns, 6.2 yards per carry) makes him an MVP/OPOY candidate.
Deebo Samuel a Missing Piece
He is heading into the last year of his contract, has not signed an extension, and requested a trade, so there have been rumors swirling around him for almost the entire offseason. It seemed like he may have been satisfied in San Francisco, but local sources have said that Deebo has not withdrawn his trade request.
The Patriots were rumored to be in on Deebo for a bit, but nothing came of it. I think we should try and trade for Deebo as he could be a crucial piece to help us take the next step. He would be a big-play receiver and could even take some of the rushing load off Damien Harris.
A Receiver Switch
N’Keal Harry would be involved in any potential swap for Deebo. Harry was our first-round draft pick in 2019 but has not performed so far in New England. He only has 57 catches for 598 yards and four touchdowns in three seasons (just twelve catches for 184 yards and no touchdowns last year). Samuel is heading into the final year of his contract and requested a trade. He also did not show up for voluntary workouts (not a good look for a struggling young player to be missing those), although he did attend mandatory minicamp.
What Else To Give Up
Of course, we would need to give up more than Harry to get a trade done. So the question is, how much would we need to give up? The answer is a lot which means multiple players (including some that could play significant roles this year for the Niners) and multiple draft picks.
The 49ers could use a solid number two running back behind Elijah Mitchell as Trey Sermon, JaMychal Hasty, and Tyrion Davis Price leaves much to be desired. Rhamondre Stevenson would be a good fit as a trade piece. He had 606 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie season last year. For the Niners, this would be a young, controllable asset (under contract until after the 2024 season). For the Patriots, Deebo would take some of those lost carries, and James White (assuming he is healthy) would likely pick up the rest.
Cornerback is one of our weakest positions, so we do not have much to give up, but I think we could give up Shaun Wade, who only played two games in his rookie season and is currently listed as a fourth-string corner. This won’t make or break the deal by any means, but it does not seem like he will ever have a significant role in New England and could even be sent to the practice squad this year.
Adrian Phillips would be solid veteran safety that is currently listed as a backup on our depth chart (behind Kyle Duggar and Devin McCourty) that we could send to San Francisco. He had 92 tackles last season and has three years of control remaining, and he is doubtful to burn us by breaking out as he is already 30 years old.
We don’t have much that we can give up at center, but James Ferentz has experience at center and could be a piece that would only be an add-on but would give the Niners depth on the offensive line. It wouldn’t be much as he is in his ninth season and only had a 48.8 PFF score in 133 snaps, but he is an experienced player. For the Patriots, it would allow a younger lineman to make the roster.
We would still need to give up some draft picks even after giving them those players. However, I think a second-round pick, a fourth-round pick (we have two), and a sixth-round pick (we have two) will be enough in addition to the five players to get even an elite non-quarterback with one year left on his deal and already requesting a trade.
We would get one of the best receivers in football who would dramatically diversify our offense by giving us a unique weapon to use, and his skills as a receiver would help Mac Jones improve.
We would have the cap space to extend Deebo as we only have 155 million on the books for 2023, just 84 million for 2021, and just ten million for 2024. So five years and 110 million should be enough to get Deebo to re-sign. He would also only be 31 when his deal ends, making it less likely that he will decline dramatically during the agreement.
We would give up our number two running back (whose production will be replaced by the player we traded for and a player returning from injury), a cornerback who may not make the roster. In addition, this center has little upside and solid safety but is not likely to start for us. So we would lose some depth at safety and at the center but save six million in cap space that we can transfer for future seasons (as well as four million next season). We would also get something back for two impending free agents.
The 49ers would increase their depth in multiple positions and pick up a likely starter at safety, a running back with upside, a corner who could provide depth, a center to provide depth, and multiple draft picks that they could use to plug future holes in their roster.
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