Deebo Samuel was one of the breakout stars of the 2021 NFL season. The hybrid wide receiver who also lined up at running back helped lead the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC Championship Game thanks to a stellar campaign in which he became the focus of the team's entire offense. Now the 26-year-old is demanding San Francisco trade him.
Samuel finished last season with 77 receptions for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns. He led the NFL by averaging 18.2 yards per reception, and also racked up 365 yards and eight touchdowns and 59 carries (6.2 yards per carry). That performance landed him his first Pro Bowl nod and earned him first-team All-Pro honors. Pretty much every team in the league could use him.
Here's a look at the four most likely destinations for Samuel on the trade market.
New York Jets
When the Jets took Zach Wilson with the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft they knew they had to surround him with talent. Thus far, they've largely failed to do so. If we're ever going to find out how good Wilson can be, he needs guys around him capable of making plays. Samuel is absolutely the kind of player who could be a game-changer for Wilson's career.
The Jets currently have Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, Braxton Berrios and Denzel Mims at receiver. Not exactly a murderers' row of talent. They also have the draft capital this year to land Samuel, with two first-round picks (No. 4, No. 10) and two second rounders (No. 35, No. 38). Two of those picks and a future selection could get a deal done. New York also has the future cap space to give Samuel a new contract.
This is the destination that makes the most sense for all parties, including the 49ers.
New England Patriots
How long has it been since the Patriots had a true threat at wide receiver? They desperately need to find a top target for quarterback Mac Jones, and none of Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, N'Keal Harry and Nelson Agholor meet the bill. Bill Belichick has long been fantastic at finding creative ways to use his players, and Samuel would give him the kind of guy he could move all over the offense. It's a fit that makes a ton of sense.
The Patriots own their first five picks in 2022 as well as their first-, second- and fourth-rounders in 2023, plus an extra fourth rounder from the Rams. It might take some creative maneuvering and possibly adding in a player to get a deal done, but New England has a decent amount of ammo to work with.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins this offseason and have yet to find a true No. 1 receiver replacement for him. Kansas City added JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling but haven't found a game-breaker to fit in Hill's spot. Enter Samuel who, while not the same type of receiver as Hill, would quickly make KC fans forget about their former speedster. Patrick Mahomes needs two things to succeed: weapons and protection. There's currently a large hole in the offense and Samuel would close it.
The Chiefs got a haul for Hill, landing a 2022 first-rounder, a 2022 second-rounder, plus two fourth-rounders and a 2023 sixth-rounder. So they currently hold the 29th and 30th picks in the 2022 draft, plus the 50th and 61st selections. They have the ammunition to get a deal done and seem to be an excellent fit.
The Eagles appear ready to go all-in on Jalen Hurts at quarterback in 2022 and if that's the case they need to help him. DeVonta Smith looks like the real deal at receiver, but the rest of the depth chart is lacking. Quez Watkins, Zach Pascal and former first-round bust Jalen Reagor aren't scaring opponents. A tandem of Smith and Samuel would be one of the league's best.
Given that Philly will run a bit of an unconventional offense with some designed runs for Hurts, having a versatile guy like Samuel would be invaluable. He could flash to the backfield for some option sets, or even run routes out of the backfield as well as lining up as a traditional wideout.
The Eagles currently own the 15th and 18th picks in the first-round of the 2022 draft, as well as the 51st, 83rd, 101st picks, as well as two first-rounders in 2023. They have plenty of draft capital to deal from should they get involved. And they should get involved.