49ers drafting Ricky Pearsall potentially spells doom for Deebo Samuel

According to one insider, Deebo Samuel could be the player on the move after the 49ers selected Ricky Pearsall in Round 1 of the NFL Draft.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

Brandon Aiyuk wasn't moved on Day 1 of the NFL Draft, but the 49ers' drafting of Ricky Pearsall isn't good news for Deebo Samuel.

The San Francisco 49ers made something of a surprise pick with the penultimate selection of the 2024 NFL Draft's first round.

Instead of an offensive lineman or a cornerback, the Niners opted for a wide receiver. But not one who had been linked to San Francisco in recent mocks and target lists.

No, the 49ers grabbed Florida wide receiver Ricky Pearsall at No. 31 overall.

Pearsall was widely viewed as an early target for Round 2, although the Niners could have felt strong enough about him that a first-round pick was justified, hopefully leading to that valuable fifth-year option for Round 1-drafted players.

However, there are possible ripple effects.

49ers don't trade Brandon Aiyuk, but does Ricky Pearsall mean Deebo Samuel gets traded?

Perhaps the only thing bigger than speculation about San Francisco's first pick of the draft was whether or not general manager John Lynch would trade star wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who is awaiting a contract extension that could potentially be out of the 49ers' comfort range.

Rumors circulated before the draft, which was expected, but Aiyuk wasn't dealt.

That said, the Niners didn't draft Pearsall to stay as a WR3 behind Aiyuk and his fellow teammate, Deebo Samuel.

Aiyuk's chemistry with quarterback Brock Purdy makes him a valuable commodity going forward, while Samuel's current contract is something of an albatross.

Despite the fact a would-be Samuel trade prior to June 1 would incur a dead-money hit of more than $21 million in 2024, the San Francisco Chronicle's Michael Silver reported that it seems as if Samuel, not Aiyuk is the player the 49ers are more likely to move now:

It's not yet clear if the Niners would trade Samuel imminently, especially with that significant cap hit and with the reality that no first-round pick in 2024 would be part of the deal.

However, San Francisco can opt to move Samuel later this offseason after June 1 while generating a significant amount of cap savings ($22 million) against $6 million in dead money.

That matters.

Either way, the drama surrounding the 49ers' wide receiver situation just took a major shift at the end of Round 1 Thursday night.

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