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Deebo Samuel trade rumors: Should the Patriots be interested in the 49ers wide receiver?

Related: Patriots draft targets: 16 wide receivers that might be on New England’s radar

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

One of the craziest NFL offseasons in recent memory has taken yet another turn. As first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, star wide receiver Deebo Samuel has asked the San Francisco 49ers to trade him and expressed his “desire to leave the organization.”

A second-round selection in the 2019 draft, Samuel has developed into one of the league’s most electrifying playmakers over the last three years. Blurring the lines between wide receiver and running back, he gained 3,668 yards from scrimmage and scored 23 touchdowns in just 44 career regular season and playoff games.

Despite the success he enjoyed in San Francisco, however, Samuel apparently wants out now. The question is whether or not the team will satisfy his trade request, and where he ends up.

The New England Patriots are one possible destination, but how realistic is Samuel ending up with the team? Let’s take a look at the facts to find out.

What would Deebo Samuel bring to the table?

As noted above, Samuel is one half wide receiver and one half running back. He lined up all over the formation for the 49ers in 2021, for example, moving between the slot and boundary receiver spots as well as the offensive backfield. He finished the season with 87 receptions as well as 86 rushing attempts.

His number of touches is only one part of the story. What he does with his opportunities is a different one altogether. For starters, Samuel gained 2,061 yards last year and found the end zone 16 times.

He also made a series of spectacular plays, taking advantage of his elite agility and burst on a regular basis to give San Francisco’s offense a unique weapon:

Samuel is a true jack of all trades, and the 49ers’ staff led by head coach Kyle Shanahan and then-offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel did a very good job to manufacture touches for him. The situation was perfect for him and he flourished in it, but make no mistake about it: Samuel’s skillset is a unique one and he would change the complexion of any offense willing to bring him aboard.

Which leads us to the second question...

What would acquiring him cost?

Trading for Samuel would be a two-fold investment not unlike those made by the Miami Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders when they acquired Tyreek Hill and Devante Adams, respectively. Not only would the Patriots or other suitors have to send draft or player capital to San Francisco to obtain Samuel, the move would also come with a multi-year contract extension.

Samuel, after all, is entering the final year of his rookie contract searching for a new deal. How much he would command in a new contract is anyone’s guess, but him making upwards of $25 million per year would not be a surprise. Hill and Adams signed extensions averaging $30 million and $28 million, and they are both older than the 26-year-old.

Hill and Adams are top-five wide receivers in football right now — something Samuel is not despite his enticing skillset and production. That said, the 49ers wideout still has a strong case as one of the top playmakers in the NFL regardless of position.

As noted above, a new contract would be just one part of the ordeal. San Francisco will likely also command some significant draft capital in return for its third-year star, if it wants to give into his trade request in the first place. Despite Samuel entering the final year of his contract, a first-round selection will likely only be the starting point for negotiations.

Should the Patriots be interested in the 49ers star?

Deebo Samuel is an outstanding player, and he would give the Patriots offense a Swiss Army Knife-type playmaker it has not had since the days of Cordarrelle Patterson — at least in theory: Samuel would likely play a significantly more prominent role than Patterson, while giving young quarterback Mac Jones a player capable of making plays on all three levels.

From that perspective, pursuing him would make some sense. However, New England indeed investing in Samuel seems unlikely at this point in time.

There are two factors working against the two joining forces: recent investments and value.

The Patriots, after all, have already invested some major resources in the wide receiver position recently. Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor were signed in free agency last year and project to play prominent roles in 2022; furthermore, DeVante Parker was acquired via trade from the Dolphins and Jakobi Meyers tendered at the second-round level.

New England would still benefit from upgrading its wide receiver depth chart, especially with a long-term perspective in mind. Samuel would be an upgrade, but the investment needed to bring him aboard would be significant; going after a developmental wideout in the draft would not have the same effect but might be better value from the Patriots’ point of view.

The thought of him coming to New England is intriguing. Ultimately, however, it appears to be a pipe dream more than anything else.