Deebo Samuel suddenly finds himself in NFL trade rumors after wiping the San Francisco 49ers off his social media. With the Green Bay Packers in desperate need of a playmaking wide receiver, Samuel could be an ideal target for Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers.
San Francisco will do everything within its power to keep Samuel. Selected with the 36th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Samuel is one of the best offensive weapons in the NFL. He’s not only a dangerous receiver in Kyle Shanahan’s scheme, but his rushing ability makes him nearly unstoppable.
He’s exactly the kind of player the 49ers need to help second-year quarterback Trey Lance in 2022 and beyond. However, All-Pro players don’t remove any reference to their employer off multiple social media accounts by accident.
- Deebo Samuel contract: $4.89 million cap hit (2022), 2023 free agent
If contract negotiations between the two sides aren’t going well, it shouldn’t come as a total surprise. The landscape for receiver contracts changed drastically this offseason. Some of the highest paid NFL players are wide receivers with salaries averaging $25-plus million per season,
If the 49ers can’t make things work with Samuel and the 26-year-old’s frustrations reach a point of no return, unexpected outcomes can happen.
Let’s examine how a Deebo Samuel trade to the Green Bay Packers might work.
What would a Deebo Samuel trade cost?
We’ve spotlighted DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and A.J. Brown trades to the Green Bay Packers recently. Acquiring Metcalf or Brown would require a first-round pick, while Lockett’s price is likely a second-round pick. Like it or not, Samuel would cost even more.
- Deebo Samuel rushing stats (2021): 365 rushing yards, 6.2 yards per carry, 8 touchdowns
Samuel’s rushing ability alone makes him a valuable chess piece for a great play-caller. He finished with 14 runs of 10-plus yards in 2021, per Pro Football Focus, just behind Christian McCaffrey (15 on 99 carries) and Aaron Jones (17 on 183 carries) in fewer attempts. He also led the NFL in PFF”s Elusive Rating (130.5) and forced 20 missed tackles as a ball carrier.
It’s an essential element of San Francisco’s offense. The complexity of this attack and the headaches it causes for defensive coordinators is greatly diminished without Samuel on the field. All of this still doesn’t account for his receiving skills.
- Deebo Samuel receiving stats (2021): 77 receptions, 1,405 receiving yards, 18.2 ypr, 7 touchdowns
San Francisco’s quarterbacks posted a 112.6 passer rating when targeting Samuel, per PFF. He finished with the second-most yards after catch (777), led the NFL in yards per target (11.7) and posted the second-best juke rate (49.4%), according to Player Profiler.
In short, it’s going to cost a staggering amount to land one of the best players in the NFL.
- Green Bay Packers trade: 22nd pick, 28th pick, 140th pick, Amari Rodgers, 2023 fourth-round pick
- San Francisco 49ers trade: Deebo Samuel
It might be a staggering price for some, but Samuel would have a massive impact on the Packers’ offense.
How Deebo Samuel would impact Green Bay Packers offense
The Green Bay Packers are very aware of Samuel’s unique gifts and athleticism. At 6-foot, he causes more problems for defenders than players with far bigger frames. Just look at what he did to Green Bay in the playoffs.
Even as a rookie, Samuel showed early signs of promise. He turned four touches into 89 scrimmage yards at Lambeau Field in the 2019 NFC Championship Game. After gaining more experience and becoming the focal point of San Francisco’s offense, Samuel accounted for 83 scrimmage yards and delivered a huge kickoff return in a Divisional Round win over the Packers when the 49ers’ offense struggled to move the ball all game.
LaFleur adopted a version of Shanahan’s offense, making tweaks to create his own elite scoring unit. He found plenty of success with Davante Adams and there’s no replacing the best wide receiver in the NFL. However, Samuel would make Green Bay’s offense more dynamic and would arguably be an even better schematic fit for the Packers than Adams.
Samuel could be used in the backfield, standing back there with Rodgers and Jones. It creates a new problem for defenses, trying to figure out if either player is getting the football from Rodgers or if he’s keeping it. On the field, linebackers and safeties have to guess which way the ball might go.
Putting that stress on the linebackers, even if Samuel doesn’t touch the football, creates another advantage for Rodgers and LaFleur. They would also move Samuel around, lining him up in the slot and out wide.
It remains extremely unlikely that the 49ers will trade Samuel, especially to a fellow NFC contender. However, this is the same team that called Green Bay a year ago and asked about a Rodgers trade. If the Packers get even a hint that Samuel might be moved, they’ll make their own inquiry.