The discourse surrounding Deebo Samuel since Jeff Darlington broke the news that he requested a trade from the San Francisco 49ers has been interesting, to say the least. It’s important first to remember who the player really is. What does Samuel bring that is so special, and which teams could be potential landing spots for the All-Pro wide receiver?
Deebo Samuel landing spots
All 31 teams should be interested in a player of Samuel’s ilk. Sturdy receivers who can separate and be elite after the catch are rare. Samuel led the NFL in yards per catch in 2021, with 10 of the 18.2 coming after the catch. The Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, and Houston Texans could all be potential fits. But the truth is, Samuel is a fit wherever he goes.
Kansas City Chiefs
For whatever reason, the Chiefs didn’t want to make Tyreek Hill the league’s highest-paid receiver. Samuel would be a less expensive and younger option while still giving the Chiefs the big-play ability they crave.
Kansas City could use an injection of positivity after they saw each divisional rival improve drastically during the NFL’s free agency period. Losing Hill in the trade put their supremacy atop the division in jeopardy for the first time.
Samuel immediately becomes their top target. The rest of the group now looks far more enticing. Additionally, there aren’t many more creative offensive minds than Andy Reid. If Samuel left for the Chiefs, it wouldn’t be hard to project a ton of success.
Green Bay Packers
Like the Chiefs, the Packers lost their own elite-tier wide receiver through trade after they couldn’t agree on a long-term extension. Losing Davante Adams left the Packers’ receiving corps more baren than the Chiefs’ unit. Adding Samuel brings legitimacy to the WR room and brings it back to the offense as a whole.
Matt LaFleur wouldn’t have to work hard to figure out how to get Samuel the ball. He has no issue winning early, and his frame allows him to shield defenders on slants. And with multiple good running backs on campus, he wouldn’t have to worry about playing in the backfield.
Yet, it isn’t easy envisioning the 49ers trading Samuel to a current NFC contender.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints currently hold picks 16 and 19 in the 2022 NFL Draft. While they don’t lack draft capital, they lack high-end receiving weapons. They’ve also carved themselves out a bit of salary cap space to make room for a massive deal for the superstar wide receiver.
The Saints’ defense is still a contender, and they have little chance to compete with the Buccaneers with the offensive roster they currently field. Finding Jameis Winston easy completions will also help him get into a rhythm when he’s struggling.
New York Jets
The Jets have quite a bit of draft capital and are currently on a mission to make the life of their young quarterback better. Samuel’s connection to Jets head coach Robert Saleh shouldn’t be ignored entirely here, although he probably doesn’t have a close relationship with a former defensive coach.
This also feels like a good fit because of Mike LaFleur, the Jets’ offensive coordinator. That is the relationship we should be talking about with the Jets fit. He was the passing game coordinator in San Francisco in 2019 and 2020. The Jets’ wide zone run game and passing attack aren’t so dissimilar to the 49ers, making Samuel a seamless schematic fit.
Brandin Cooks needs a complementary receiver in the building. Davis Mills had one of the league’s lowest aDOT as a rookie. With explosive plays meaning so much to scoring points, Samuel could elevate that offense. Adding a talent like Samuel also provides a clearer picture of what their young QB could be in the future.