Report: 49ers WR Deebo Samuel more likely to be traded than Brandon Aiyuk

Kyle’s update, 11:10 a.m. PT: Mike Giardi of the Boston Journal adds more fuel to the fire that Deebo, not Aiyuk, is on the move:

Lot of talk about Brandon Aiyuk possibly being moved, but league sources indicate Deebo Samuel is more likely to be traded, and that two of the teams at the top of round two – Buffalo and New England – have interest in the player. — Mike Giardi (@MikeGiardi) April 26, 2024

Bills fans don’t believe they’re in the running for Deebo, as they can’t fit his $22 million cap hit. New England, with their cap space, absolutely can. Getting an early second for Deebo at this stage is a deal you might have to say yes to.

Given the strength of the wide receiver class, the likelihood of Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel being traded during the first round was low. Deebo himself was an early second-round pick, while if a team traded for Aiyiuk, they’d have to pay him north of $25 million on top of a Day 1 pick.

The Buffalo Bills have the first pick of the second round, and they have yet to replace Stefon Diggs. The New England Patriots select after Buffalo, and their best receiver is coming off an ACL injury. The Washington Commanders have two picks in the top 40, while the Los Angeles Chargers and Carolina Panthers could all use receiver help. Each team picks in the top 40 today.

The San Francisco 49ers phones should be ringing tirelessly today. CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweeted the following:

I’m told the #Patriots had preliminary trade discussions on #49ers WR Deebo Samuel prior to the NFL Draft, per source. In general, when teams explore potential transactions with other clubs, finding middle ground on compensation can be challenging. There are always many considerable factors on why the price should possibly be one thing, or another.

The Patriots also pick 68, which may be more in the Deebo range if we’re talking 1-for-1 deals. San Francisco could always swap picks, whether that’s in the second or third. There are numerous ways to come to an agreement. But it seems like they’re intent on offloading Samuel’s salary. The Patriots, or any team, won’t be as willing to part ways with an early pick due to Deebo’s contract. But all it takes is one.

And if New England isn’t in love with Adonai Mitchell, Ladd McConkey, Keon Coleman, or the other wideouts available, they may value Deebo enough to pull the trigger.

It’s also worth pointing out the other team’s cap space. The Patriots have $54 million in cap space, which leads the league. That, paired with a rookie contract at quarterback, could allow New England to eat the dead money in Samuel’s salary. But that’s when we return to the conversation the Patriots might bring up: “You want me to give you a 2nd and pay him all this money?”

That could be why the Niners end up making a deal worth a third-rounder. The Commanders, Titans, and Chargers are all in the top five in cap space. So, the parameters are slightly easier to get a deal done when money on the other side isn’t an issue.

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