What are the chances the Patriots trade for Deebo Samuel?
Rumors involving the Patriots making a massive trade for top-name receivers are nothing new. Over the years, the story stays the same, with just the name involved changing. We’ve seen it all, from Odell Beckham Jr. to DeAndre Hopkins; nearly all potentially available receivers have been the target of speculation at some point.
The latest name to join the list is San Francisco 49ers’ star, Deebo Samuel.
The idea of the Patriots having Samuel on the roster initially began in 2019, when the team had the receiver in for a top-30 visit before the draft. Samuel seemed to have loved his meeting with Patriots’ personnel, posting a video to his Instagram as he left the stadium saying, “Hey Billy, I’ll see you in a month, my man.”
That’s a draft that fans will always remember.
Not only did Belichick not select Samuel, who has become a stud with the Niners, but he also passed on A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, and Terry McLaurin in order to draft N’Keal Harry. It was undoubtedly one of the biggest mistakes the coach has made in his career, considering how quickly Harry became a bust in New England and the others ascended almost immediately.
Because of the history between Samuel and the Patriots, when “Felger & Mazz” executive producer James Stewart suggested the team had been expressing interest in getting a deal done with San Francisco, it sparked an immense amount of online debate filled with excitement.
But at the same time, it also raised a few questions.
Would Belichick actually make that kind of massive trade?
Looking at the coach’s trade history and how he puts together a roster, the most straightforward answer appears to be no.
Belichick is not known for awarding players with massive contracts, nor has he put much stock in the name on the back of the jersey. Not often has he made a move for a top receiver throughout his tenure in New England either, especially one that appears to be in their prime.
Sure, he attempted to trade for DeAndre Hopkins in 2017, but the deal never got done. And he did sign Antonio Brown in 2019 after he had a controversial time with the then-Oakland Raiders, but we know how that pairing ended. So why would he make the move now?
It was reported that Robert Kraft had applied some pressure after the disappointing 2022 season concluded, discussing with Belichick the significant changes needed during their end-of-the-year annual meeting. So making a blockbuster trade for a guy like Samuel could align with what Kraft hopes to see, right?
Anything is certainly possible, but with all things considered, it appears as something other than a likely scenario.
Are the Niners even interested in a trade?
From what has been reported since the rumor began, San Francisco has yet to indicate they’re looking to move Samuel any time soon. Sure, things can change, and it’s no secret there’s no loyalty in sports. But there really isn’t any incentive for making a trade happen.
Since Samuel signed a three-year contract last offseason, trading him after June 1st would be the least harmful to San Francisco’s salary cap. At that point, they’d take on $6,650,000 in dead cap in 2023 and $21,793,000 in 2024 while only clearing just over $2,000,000 for the upcoming season.
It would make more sense if Kyle Shanahan and co. have a change of heart to make the trade next year when the dead cap in 2024 would be over $6,000,000 less, and they’d increase their cap savings to $21,922,000.
Other than the lack of financial reason, NFL reporter Albert Breer spoke to NBC Sports Boston on Thursday and essentially put the rumors to bed.
"“I checked in with somebody who would absolutely know on this and they said, ‘A) We’re not trading him, and B) They haven’t called.’ So wherever this is, it hasn’t gotten to the Niners’ desks. This isn’t something that’s been on the table for them at all. … Could this evolve that way? Sure. But there’s no meat on the bone there as of right now.”"
In typical NFL fashion, the door is shut, but not completely.
The Patriots’ offseason has had unprecedented moments thus far, and Belichick has already made some dramatic yet much-needed changes to the coaching staff.
Could more uncharacteristic moves be on their way, like making a trade for Samuel? Maybe, but don’t hold your breath.