If the 49ers elect to move Deebo Samuel, are the Jets the only realistic trade partner the Niners want to engineer a maximum return from?
As the days and hours count down to the start of the 2022 NFL Draft, fans and analysts alike will wonder whether or not the San Francisco 49ers will hold onto All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel.
Samuel, of course, has requested a trade. And despite it seeming strange, apparently the trade request isn’t about the money.
At any rate, the Niners would much prefer holding onto Samuel this season and likely beyond. But there’s also a possibility another team winds up making an offer general manager John Lynch simply can’t refuse.
From San Francisco’s perspective, would this be the New York Jets? It makes a lot of sense if so.
Jets brass would love to reunite with Deebo Samuel
Gang Green’s head coach, Robert Saleh, surely is familiar with Samuel from their days together with the 49ers from 2019 and 2020, and New York offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur also has that rapport with the 2019 second-round draft pick.
The Jets were aggressive in their pursuit of now-Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill when his former team, the Kansas City Chiefs, put him on the trade block.
With another former Niners assistant, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, landing Hill as a bona fide top-end weapon in the AFC East, one has to figure Saleh, LaFleur and Jets general manager Joe Douglas would act aggressively in response.
Jets have more than enough NFL Draft ammo to trade with 49ers for Deebo Samuel
On the surface, San Francisco wants to retain Samuel. It would be silly to part ways with one of its top weapons.
However, the Jets are in a position where they could make a can’t-refuse offer, particularly with two picks within the top-10 selections of this year’s draft, Nos. 4 and 10 overall, plus two early picks in Round 2, Nos. 35 and 38 overall.
Simply put, every other team in the league should be interested in Samuel. But from Gang Green’s perspective, it’d still have the ammunition to send a top-10 pick for Samuel while still having another to land an impact player right out of the gate.
Perhaps that’s something the 49ers want. And, according to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline, New York would be willing to send off the No. 10 overall pick to the Niners in exchange for Samuel.
That might be where San Francisco starts its negotiations, should the standoff with Samuel remain in place. And few other teams would likely have the draft-capital firepower to match what the Jets are willing to offer.
So, if a trade does take place between now and Round 1 of the draft, it wouldn’t be shocking if New York is the primary squad involved.