Should the San Francisco 49ers Trade Deebo Samuel?
It’s been a wild offseason for elite wide receivers.
The Niners have proven that they are willing to pay top-of-the-market value for their cornerstone players, such as George Kittle, Fred Warner, and, at the time, Jimmy Garoppolo, sure, but they’ve also been known to be tough negotiators who will not surpass a certain value no matter how good that player is. (See: DeForest Buckner).
Below, we’ve broken down why the 49ers should trade Samuel.
The Massive Contract
This might seem crazy, but there are a plethora of reasons why the Niners would actually be smart to move Samuel.
Samuel will want to either match or eclipse the deals that Hill and Adams received after being shipped out of town. That would put Deebo’s yearly average in the $25 million-plus range, which I think the Niners would be fine paying. The problem is the guaranteed money. Hill got a jaw-dropping $72.2 million guaranteed and the Niners will almost assuredly not even come close to that amount.
Total Guarantees, WRs:— Akash Anavarathan (@akashanav) April 11, 2022
1. Tyreek Hill, $72.2M
2. Davante Adams, $65.7M
3. Michael Thomas, $60.9M
4. Amari Cooper, $60M
5. Mike Evans, $55M
The most guarantees the #49ers have ever handed out is Garoppolo’s $48.7M.
Do they top that for Deebo Samuel?
If both sides aren’t willing to cave on the guaranteed money then they could be in a contract stalemate for the foreseeable future.
Then there’s the combination of Samuel’s injury history and one year of elite production.
Deebo is unlike any receiver in the league. He’s built like a running back, which is why he’s such a unique weapon and so hard for players to tackle. But that also means he weighs more and that adds more force to his lower body. He’s already suffered soft-tissue injuries and a broken foot. With his style of play, Samuel is always going to be at risk for injury and that won’t change as he gets older.
Samuel was healthy this season and clearly flourished, but this is his first season with elite production. It’s much easier for teams to pay top dollar to guys like Adams, Hill and Stefon Diggs because they’ve proven it over multiple seasons.
The 49ers Still Have to Pay Nick Bosa, Among Others
Sitting at just $1.6 million in available cap space, the Niners currently have the least amount available in the league — and they still have to pay some of their up-and-coming players such as Nick Bosa.
The 49ers can easily clear cap space by restructuring some players or finally getting rid of Jimmy Garoppolo, they will need that space to be Bosa, who recently signed a deal that pays him $28 million per season. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Bosa shoots for $30 million per year.
With the salary cap set to explode in the coming seasons, along with the Niners eventually getting Jimmy G off the books, they still need to budget for Bosa’s eventual raise and, if things go well, they’ll have to pay Trey Lance a ridiculous amount of money in the next couple of years.
The Niners might think they can get by with Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle and a rookie receiver.
49ers Can Restock Their Draft Capital
After trading multiple first-rounders to move up for Trey Lance prior to the 2021 NFL Draft, the Niners’ draft coffers are basically bare. Sure, they have nine picks in this year’s draft, but their first selection isn’t until No. 61 in the late second round.
If the Niners can get multiple premium picks over the next couple of years, they can get younger while developing cost-controlled rookies.
If, say, the Jets come calling and offer Nos. 10 and 38, the 49ers would not only be able to select a pass rusher to pair with Bosa but they could also shore up their barren offensive line or find the “next” Samuel … if that’s possible.
Of course, those picks could backfire like the DeForest Buckner trade did, which makes dealing Deebo a huge risk. But other smart franchises have shown that paying more than $25 million per season for a receiver isn’t quite worth it.
Samuel is such a key piece to the 49ers' success, so it’ll fascinating to see whether they give in to Deebo’s demands or if they trade him for multiple picks.
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