The New York Jets have been searching for a true WR1 this offseason. General manager Joe Douglas couldn’t land one during free agency. While they had an agreement in principle with the Kansas City Chiefs, he couldn’t acquire Tyreek Hill. The Jets have been linked to acquiring A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf, but one new name surfaced last week. On Wednesday, we found out Deebo Samuel requested a trade from the San Francisco 49ers after not being able to agree on a contract extension. The explosive wide receiver has been linked to the Jets as a potential trade partner. This begs the question: does it make sense for the New York Jets to acquire Deebo Samuel? Absolutely.
Reason #1: Familiarity
Why does it make sense for the New York Jets to acquire Deebo Samuel? Primarily, it’s familiarity with the offense already in place. When Robert Saleh was hired as head coach, he brought over many other 49ers assistants. One of those assistants was Mike LaFleur, who was the passing game coordinator when Samuel was a rookie in 2019. Now, LaFleur is the Jets’ offensive coordinator and he knows how Samuel could fit in this offense. Samuel will also reunite with Miles Austin. Austin was an offensive quality control coach in San Francisco in 2019; he is currently the Jets’ wide receivers coach. Samuel’s biggest concern – to put it diplomatically – is how he’s been used in Kyle Shanahan’s offensive scheme. Though he could still be used in the same way in this offense, the Jets have other receivers such as Braxton Berrios and Elijah Moore to share those duties.
Reason #2: Draft Capital
Another reason why it makes sense for the New York Jets to trade for Deebo Samuel: the crazy amount of draft capital. At One Jets Drive in Florham Park, New Jersey, Trader Joe’s is always open. In his tenure as general manager, Joe Douglas has managed to flip several picks from the Mike Maccagnan Era into players who can play now. Two of the draft picks acquired in the Jamal Adams trade became all-rookie guard Alijah Vera-Tucker. The Leonard Williams trade brought in cornerback Michael Carter. Carolina’s trade for Sam Darnold became Brandin Echols this season and will become picks 38 and 111 in this year’s draft.
So, if Douglas were to depart picks for Samuel, which ones would he give up? It all depends on what the 49ers want in return. The potential deal for Tyreek Hill would have seen the Jets give up picks 35, 38, and 69. It wouldn’t be crazy for the 49ers to ask for the same type of compensation. It also wouldn’t be crazy for the Jets to depart with their first-round selection at 10, add in pick 69, and add a conditional late round pick in 2023 in exchange for Samuel. But the former would be more optimal than the latter, especially if they want to continue to build depth.
Reason #3: Ample Cap Space
The New York Jets have one of the most unique situations in the NFL coming into the draft. They not only have five – FIVE!!! – selections within the first 70 picks in the draft. They also have an estimated $15M of remaining cap space for 2021 to work with. Deebo Samuel only has a $4.89M cap hit this season before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2023. Douglas is building a team for the future with an offense that can elevate quarterback Zach Wilson. If he can do that while Wilson is on his rookie deal and the Jets are playing important games in December and January, the reward outweighs the risk.
With all the cap space they have this season and potentially into 2023, trading for Deebo Samuel makes total sense for the New York Jets. After an unprecedented 2021 season with over 1,800 total yards and 14 touchdowns (the Jets had 14 rushing touchdowns AS A TEAM in 2021), the man deserves a raise. Douglas and the Jets are willing to oblige, depending on the price 49ers general manager John Lynch sets.
Will Deebo Samuel be a member of the New York Jets in 2022? Time will tell, but excitement is building among the fanbase for a player who could help make the team exponentially better. Hopefully, the Jets have done enough to have the football gods smile upon them for a change.
(If you want to hear more New York Jets draft coverage, check out the latest episode of No Credentials Required, where I and two friends of mine run our mock drafts for the Jets.)