REPORT: The 49ers are Likely to Trade Deebo Samuel

Today could be Samuel's final day on the team. Let's see what happens.
Feb 7, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) during a press
Feb 7, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) during a press / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Here's a curveball.

Instead of trading Brandon Aiyuk, the 49ers are now expected to trade Deebo Samuel, according to Mike Silver, who says a deal involving Samuel is "likely" because the 49ers have drafted wide receiver Ricky Pearsall. Aiyuk is available for a trade as well, but the 49ers presumably would have wanted a first-round pick in exchange for him and didn't get it.

Samuel seems to be worth a second-round pick or a third-round pick, or possibly both. Which means he won't bring the 49ers a big haul. In addition, trading him would free up only $7 million roughly. So a trade wouldn't benefit the 49ers much next season.

Still, trading Samuel makes more sense than trading Aiyuk, because Aiyuk is 26 and Samuel is 28. And Aiyuk is getting better, while Samuel is not. And opposing defenses will use man-to-man coverage often against the 49ers as long as Brock Purdy is their quarterback, and Samuel can't beat man to man. He proved that in the playoffs, particularly the Super Bowl.

So Samuel isn't useful to the 49ers anymore. They don't need him to play running back because they have Christian McCaffrey. They need him to play wide receiver, get himself open and catch the ball consistently, things he can't do.

So the 49ers drafted Pearsall, who's a much better route runner than Samuel and drops fewer passes. Of course, Pearsall can't compare to Samuel with the ball in his hands after the catch, but perhaps the 49ers offense is evolving away from YAC specialists.

Today could be Samuel's final day on the team. Let's see what happens.


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Grant Cohn

GRANT COHN