5 teams that need to call 49ers immediately to capitalize on Deebo Samuel trade rumors

With Deebo Samuel available for the right price, these NFL teams should be on the prowl.
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The San Francisco 49ers' roster ain't cheap, and the need to pay Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk in the coming years could facilitate major changes. All offseason, there has been speculation about Aiyuk — entering the final year of his contract without an extension — as a potential trade candidate. Now, however, his All-Pro teammate appears to be more prominently on the chopping block.

According to Michael Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Niners are "more likely to deal" Samuel than Aiyuk. That will come as a shock to some members of the fanbase, as Samuel is far more decorated and accomplished. He is Kyle Shanahan's favorite pass-catcher. And yet, Samuel is also two years older than Aiyuk, with a contract that can expire at season's end.

However, 49ers general manager John Lynch said that they didn't entertain any offers after Day 2 of the NFL Draft. But that doesn't mean a trade can't happen.

If the Niners opt to extend the younger Aiyuk and cut ties with Samuel, the line of interested front offices should stretch around the block. Samuel's next team would have to worry about paying him too, but that's nothing compared to the value he can supply an immediate contender. Samuel can level-up an offense from day one.

He's getting to the point where age and injuries are a mounting concern at 28 years old, but Samuel still has enough in the tank to seriously impact winning. He managed 60 receptions for 892 yards and seven touchdowns in 15 starts last season.

Here's who should be hammering the Niners' phone lines.

5. Chargers still haven't put a decent WR room around Justin Herbert

The Los Angeles Chargers traded up for Ladd McConkey on draft night. There's some overlap between Samuel and McConkey, who can both line up all over the place and execute different routes depending on team need. The thing about jacks of all trades, however, is that they can play next to other jacks of all trades. It's a nice perk of that skill set.

Samuel still has the top-end speed to create advantages on the outside, but he's exceptional in the intermediate range or close to the line of scrimmage. The Niners frequently deployed Samuel on designed runs out of the backfield (37 carries, 225 yards, five touchdowns) and new Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh loves to run the football. He brought Greg Roman over from Michigan, so expect LA to get creative with Samuel if he ends up there.

Los Angeles opted against drafting one of the high-end receivers on draft night, instead targeting OT Joe Alt with the No. 5 pick. That was a sound decision, but it leaves Justin Herbert sorely lacking in terms of viable pass-catchers. McConkey is great, but he's not day-one WR1 material. Right now, there's a lot of pressure on Quentin Johnston and Josh Palmer, neither of whom feel particularly ready for increased responsibilities.

San Francisco has been able to lean on Samuel for years. He is a paragon of reliability. He would supply Herbert, one of the best arms in football, with a reliable set of hands to utilize on every down, and in every area of the field. Few teams need Samuel more than the Chargers.

4. Patriots can use Deebo Samuel to unlock No. 3 pick Drake Maye

The New England Patriots avoided disaster and landed Drake Maye with the No. 3 pick. He has franchise QB potential, but the 21-year-old is also rough around the edges. He needs the right supporting cast and solid infrastructure around him. Right now, the Pats' WR room is starkly lacking.

Ja'Lynn Polk is a tremendous talent, and there's reason to be excited about DeMario Douglas' future. That said, New England would benefit immensely from an established top-shelf wideout — the sort of vet that can execute every route, limit mistakes, and strike up fast chemistry with Maye as he establishes his footing in the NFL.

Even if the Patriots decide to let Jacoby Brissett run the show for a year first, Samuel would put New England's offense in a far more respectable place. The malleability of his skill set allows Samuel to fit just about anywhere, but the Patriots can't let the offense fall apart under new leadership.

Jerod Mayo is completely unproven as a head coach. Alex Van Pelt has experience in the OC chair, but his Cleveland Browns teams were never particularly inspiring on that side of the football. Bill Belichick ran a tight ship for two decades in Foxboro. It ended poorly, sure, but there's something to be said for consistency. Now the Patriots run the risk of collapsing completely, with a roster that is plainly not built to contend.

Samuel won't transform New England into immediate contenders, but he can add more structure and consistentcy to the offense as the Patriots look to build good habits and positive momentum for the future.

3. Bills need to get Josh Allen somebody to throw to

The Buffalo Bills traded out of the first round in last week's NFL Draft, handing the Kansas City Chiefs their new favorite WR in the process. That decision left many fans baffled. Keon Coleman was a nice consolation prize to open the second round, but Buffalo can't rely on a rookie to cover for the absences of Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis.

Buffalo let its top two pass-catchers walk in order to cut costs. That could make Samuel and his looming extension a daunting proposition, but Samuel won't demand the same compensation as Diggs moving forward. He's also a couple years younger. So, the Bills would be getting a rock-solid replacement with high-level experience, while also trimming projected future expenses.

Josh Allen is pretty clearly the best QB in the NFL outside of Kansas City. He deserves a passable collection of receivers. Samuel can only do so much on his own, but the Bills' current WR room — Coleman, Curtis Samuel, Khalil Shakir, Mack Hollins — quite possibly qualifies as the league's worst. That is unacceptable for a team within striking distance of that AFC title and a potential Super Bowl appearance.

Samuel won't replicate Diggs' volume and vertical threat, but he infuses so much optionality into the Buffalo offense. His comfort level in different formations and his sticky hands in the red zone would make him an instant new favorite for Allen and Bills OC Joe Brady.

2. Steelers really, really need WR help

The Pittsburgh Steelers were a popular projected landing spot for Brandon Aiyuk before the draft. Well, why should it be any different with Samuel? Whichever WR the Niners are floating out there, Pittsburgh needs to be vying for. Samuel is arguably a more natural fit next to George Pickens, who can stretch the defense vertically and offer a towering end zone target while Samuel works the underneath routes and gives Russell Wilson a bankable pressure-release valve.

The Steelers dealt Diontae Johnson to Carolina early in the offseason and opened up a noticeable void in the WR room. Third-round pick Roman Wilson figures to help out, but Van Jefferson as WR2 is a rather middling proposition. The Steelers need more juice offensively, if last season was any proof. Russ is a respectable vet, but he's not the All-Pro miracle worker of yesteryear. He needs playmakers who can execute their routes and generate yards after the catch.

Samuel would increase the Steelers' financial burden, but Pittsburgh needs to operate aggressively — now more than ever. The Mike Tomlin era is getting stale. The Steelers are always in the postseason, but how many more first-round exits can the front office and ownership stomach? New OC Arthur Smith has a mixed-bag reputation after his tenure in Atlanta, but frankly, Samuel is the perfect WR for that offense. At least on paper. Samuel can plug in anywhere and make things happen.

Pittsburgh cannot rest on its laurels after a busy offseason on the QB front. The Russell Wilson-Justin Fields collective should be an improvement over Kenny Pickett, but the Steelers' offensive success will come down to how electric the playmaking corps is. Samuel considerably elevates Pittsburgh's profile in the AFC North.

1. Jets could use one more weapon for Aaron Rodgers

The New York Jets selected OT Olu Fashanu in the first round, despite rampant speculation about potentially targeting another pass-catcher for Aaron Rodgers to play with. It was the smart move — New York desperately needed to beef up the O-line. Still, the Jets could desire one more weapon after waiting until the third round to target a wide receiver (Malachi Corley).

Samuel is the perfect option on paper. He fits with Garrett Wilson and Mike Williams, two explosive vertical threats who can take the lid off the defense. Samuel is comfortable working out of the slot or running underneath routes, giving Rodgers a safe check-down option when the pocket collapses. Based on last season, it will collapse frequently.

Money is an object, but it shouldn't be a huge object for the Jets at this stage. New York has committed all its resources to building a contender around Rodgers in his NFL twilight. It's unclear how much longer the four-time MVP will line up under center for the Jets, but Samuel's prime timeline should align well enough. He needs an extension soon, but odds are Samuel won't get four or five years of guaranteed money.

The Jets would immediately profile as one of the AFC's best offensive teams with Samuel in the mix. That is their path to dethroning Kansas City, Buffalo, or Baltimore — fighting fire with fire. So long as Rodgers holds up on the health front, a Samuel trade would pay dividends.

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