The NFL has been an interesting world this offseason. The Detroit Lions have been pretty quiet all offseason though. While everyone else was splashing around, the Lions have been dog paddling. There’s nothing wrong with dog paddling. It’ll keep you from drowning. It’s time for a splash. On Wednesday, the opportunity to splash around presented itself. Per ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, San Francisco 49ers star wide receiver Deebo Samuel has requested to be traded.
This right here is what we call a game changer. The Lions have been on a “slow and steady wins the race” pace, and I’m all cool with that. But getting Deebo Samuel on the roster is the equivalent of drawing the “fast forward four spots” card in a board game. This move makes the Lions a very dangerous team. Here’s the whys and the hows on the deal.
Last year the 49ers traded their 2022 first-round draft pick to the Miami Dolphins to move up to the third pick to select Trey Lance. As it stands right now, the 49ers aren't making a draft pick until almost Round 3. The 49ers currently have the 61st pick in the second round. I have no inside information and I’m purely speculating, but I would bet the 49ers are going to try to put together a package to trade up in the first round regardless of whether or not they move Deebo Samuel. So the Lions can help them out. The problem is while the Lions could be interested, a lot NFL teams will likely enter the Deebo sweepstakes.
Among the teams to consider as the trade market for Deebo Samuel heats up: The #Jets, the #Packers, the #Chiefs, the #Lions… and, I assume, most other teams who like really good players. https://t.co/onrd55k3s3— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 20, 2022
The Lions are going to have to pay up in this situation. Here’s the offer.
Lions get: Deebo Samuel
49ers get: 2nd pick and 34th pick
The Lions, 49ers, and Samuel all get what they want here. The Lions get one of the best receivers in the game, and the 49ers get two picks that are both higher than any one they have this season. Additionally, they don’t have to make Samuel the highest paid receiver in football after the 2022 season. The Lions will pick up that check, and should be able to make it work long-term with no bulky contracts currently weighing them down.
In Samuel, the Lions will get the kind of impact player they aren’t likely to get at Pick 2 or 34. We’re talking about a potential top-25 player in the league here.
The other teams listed in Ian Rapoport’s tweet are definitely threats to the Lions here. The Jets could easily offer up one of their top 10 picks and the 49ers would probably love to send Samuel out of the NFC if they can. Since the Jets missed on Tyreek Hill, they’re probably looking to score on this one. Speaking of Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs will be looking to replace him. They could easily offer up picks 29 and 30. The Packers seem like a long shot to me. They could offer the 22 and 28, but I don’t see why the 49ers would want to trade a good receiver to a team they’ll have to deal with in the playoffs, especially if that team is a rival.
At the the end of the day, it’s unlikely that Picks 32 and/or 34 are going to cut it. Davante Adams got the Packers a first and second-round pick. Tyreek Hill got the Chiefs a first, second, two fourths and a sixth-round pick. These moves don’t come cheap.
So the Lions are going to have to be aggressive with their ofter. It’s worth it in the end, though.
Why it’s worth it
Just go watch the NFC Championship game to know why it’s worth it.
Okay, there’s more to it than that. For starters, go watch that game. What you’ll see there is more than just a good player. You’ll see the type of player that’s capable of putting an entire franchise on his back. Samuel had four big receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. That may not seem like a ton, but you really have to see the game to see it. The NFL website has a highlight reel just for him.
There’s more though. Samuel was one of the very best receivers in the league in 2021. He was fifth in receiving yards, third in catches for 20+ yards, second in catches for 40+ yards, first in receiving yards per target, fourth in yards per game and second in yards after the catch. He also had the third-highest PFF grade in the league among receivers.
Lastly he’s only 26 years old. This is not a quick move to add a good player in hopes to squeak into the playoffs. This is an investment into the future of the team. Samuel is a player who can be a big part of the team for the long haul. It’s a game-changing move for the Detroit Lions if they can make it happen.
There's one in every trade, right? This one won’t be any different. The Lions are going to have to push back things on the defensive side of the ball. The Lions will put themselves out of the market on drafting the top end edge rushers in this draft to build up their offense. They’ll still have six picks left, including the 32nd pick, to grab players on defense. This move would also mean the Lions would have to use a lot of resources next year to get things done on that side of the ball.
Another issue is that the Lions are going to have to get Samuel signed to an extension that would likely make him the highest paid—or one of the highest paid—receivers in the league. The Lions will have the money to get that done, but are they willing to give up that money? They’re probably going to have to if they’re wanting this trade to happen.
With that in mind, this is set up to be a process instead of a quick fix. Is this move a quick fix or an important part of the process. It’s a hard question to answer right away. If this goes badly, it could hurt the Lions for a while. If it goes right though, it could be one of the biggest moves for the Lions future.