The Deebo Samuel trade talk that was a hot topic earlier this offseason has cooled over the past month. The further away we’ve gotten from the draft, it feels like the less we hear about Samuel being anywhere besides the Bay Area this fall. That is until former Dallas Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus weighed in on the subject on his Love of the Star podcast. “I’d like to believe that the one position that they would give up assets for, and the history has shown that they’ve done it before, is wide receiver,” Broaddus explained. “So, we’ll see with the whole thing with Deebo, would that be the best fit? Yeah, he just does so much for you, but would [Cowboys offensive coordinator] Kellen Moore be able to use him like we’ve seen him being used in San Francisco?”
Jerry Jones likes bold moves
Where the willingness to make this move is concerned, I agree with Broaddus as this sounds very much like a Jerry Jones move. Jones traded a first-round pick for Amari Cooper midway through the 2018 season, so, I don’t doubt Jones would be willing to entertain this if the 49ers want to listen.
One factor to think of is compensation. What type of haul will Samuel warrant from any team, especially the Cowboys? These NFC rivals just met in the playoffs in January, with the Niners coming out on top. NFL teams aren’t too keen on trading star players to franchises they might have to go through in the postseason. The Niners would probably want a few draft picks from Jones if he genuinely desired Deebo’s services. Dallas traded a first-rounder for Amari, so you’d figure San Francisco would want at least two first-round picks and more for Samuel. He’s such a dynamic player that you can line up anywhere on offense. He’s even lined up in the backfield for the 49ers (he rushed 59 times for 356 yards and eight touchdowns last season).
The elephant in the room
Samuel would make a great addition to almost any NFL roster, given his age (26), having barely entered his prime. Let’s not forget Samuel was spotted with Dak Prescott at a Dallas Mavericks playoff game just a couple of months ago. So, the seeds have been planted already. One thing that needs to be addressed about a potential deal like this is how it would affect the Cowboys internally. More specifically, what would a deal for Samuel say about Dallas’ feelings toward CeeDee Lamb? After trading Cooper to Cleveland this offseason, that move was supposed to allow Lamb to slide into the No. 1 receiver slot for the Cowboys. If a Samuel to the ‘Boys trade were to happen, that would put a bright spotlight on Lamb. Questions about the Cowboys’ belief in Lamb as the top target would undoubtedly surface. You’d have to wonder why Dallas would give up assets to bring in another No. 1 guy when they already have theirs. Both players had some similar statistics last season, with Samuel catching 77 passes to Lamb’s 79. Where Deebo really outshined CeeDee is in receiving yards and yards per reception (Y/R). Samuel was fifth in receiving yards in 2021 with 1,405. Lamb didn’t even crack the top 15 with 1,102. Deebo also had the edge in Y/R averaging 18.2 to CeeDee’s 13.9. Samuel also finished second in the NFL in YAC with 780 yards total after the catch. Lamb barely placed top 20 with 441. While the combo of Samuel and Lamb could potentially become the best receiver tandem in the league, it’s easy to see how this move would also cause a lot of questions to be raised. One second, you’re ready to anoint Lamb as your No. 1 guy, then you bring in another option that can also be the first option. On paper, it seems like a tremendous problem to have, but a movie like this could also affect a young player’s (Lamb) confidence. So, that’s also something to think about, along with salary cap implications, since Samuel wants a new contract.
Check the game plan
Another part of this equation is utilizing Samuel’s talents and skills properly. Kyle Shanahan and Mike McDaniel lined Deebo up all over the place in their offense. Will Mike McCarthy/Kellen Moore/Jones be able or willing to do something similar? That’s the question. Yes, Jerry is involved in many of these decisions regarding star players, so you’ve got to include him. If you’re just going to line Samuel up outside and say good luck, then you’re not going to receive the best return on your investment. He’s not so much a wideout as he is an overall football player. He can do many things for an offense, including throwing a touchdown pass. Any coaching staff will need to keep an open mind when figuring out how to implement Samuel into their offense. I think it’d take a mind-blowing offer for the Niners to truly consider moving Deebo right now, as he’s only three years into his career. But if there’s an owner capable of this, it’s Jerry Jones, for better or worse.